Posts Tagged: virginia woolf

Weekend Rumpus Roundup

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For National Poetry Month Days 25 & 26, Christian Anton Gerard and Ada Limon provide us with poems of love and luck.

Then, Sean Donovan has good things to say in his Saturday Review of the film It Follows, a “clever” tribute to John Carpenter and the horror cinema of the 80s.

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Creativity and Mental Illness

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Though I did not know it then, Adeline was not just a work of fiction, or an act of literary ventriloquism. It was my suicide note. Had I succeeded in taking my life, this would have been clear.

At Lit Hub, Norah Vincent writes about the intensity of creating her Virginia Woolf novel Adeline, the link between creativity and mental illness, and how this led her to attempt taking her own life.

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Weird, Wonderful Woolf

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Emma Woolf (yes, a relation) writes about the personal life of Virginia Woolf:

There has been much speculation about the sexual dimension of the Woolfs’ relationship: was the marriage ever consummated, was she frigid, was she a lesbian? In 1967 her half-brother Gerald Brenan added fuel to the fire, writing: “Leonard told me that when on their honeymoon he had tried to make love to her, she had got into such a violent state of excitement that he had to stop, knowing as he did that, these states were a prelude to her attacks of madness .

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“And She Went on Her Way Rejoicing”

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Muriel Spark and the perennial question: “Am I a woman or an intellectual monster?” ...more

Back to the Future

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The past is always a story, impossible to remember without molding it into a narrative that privileges some details over others and colors memory with tone. Reflecting on a recent trend toward biographical fiction, Joanna Scutts warns us about the dangers of time travel:

When imagination pours into the gaps in the biographical record, overcoming the frustrations of burned letters and lost diaries by making things up, it replaces history with a plausible lie, which tells us far more about our own time than it does about the past.

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Privilege vs. Privilege

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In an excerpt from her book The Shelf, Phyllis Rose illustrates the systematic dismissal of women writers through the imagined figure of Prospero’s Daughter: wealthy and educated yet burdened by the demands of a family life whose quotidian challenges, having monopolized her time, become central concerns in her work.

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Plunge Into the Dark with Open Eyes

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Terrifying though the unknown may seem, there are benefits to plunging into the murky waters of uncertainty. In an essay featured in the New YorkerRebecca Solnit writes, “It’s the job of writers and explorers to see more, to travel light when it comes to preconception, to go into the dark with their eyes open.”

There is so much we don’t know, and to write truthfully about a life…is to engage repeatedly with those patches of darkness…those places of unknowing.

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Hear Virginia Woolf’s Voice

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Over at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova highlights the only known recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice.

In the recording, Woolf reads from an essay on craft (which Popova conveniently reprints in the post): “How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth?”

We hope it doesn’t sound disrespectful to point out that her voice sounds a lot like the Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey, and it’s delightfully mesmerizing.

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T.S. Eliot’s Long-Lost Lecture

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In a letter of May 21, 1924, an English literary critic invited T.S. Eliot to speak to the club on “any subject connected with the Elizabethan drama.”

As late as November 6, Eliot told Richard Aldington that the lecture was “still in very rough shape.” Shortly afterward he wrote to Virginia Woolf that, despite all of his labors, it proved “unworthy of subsequent publication.”

Despite T.S.

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“This Other Reality Exists”

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Our girl Elissa Bassist lays some hella smart analysis on Orange is the New Black for Medium:

To see what’s been missing in popular culture is to see how comprehensive and refined the brainwashing has become….the number/diversity of women on-screen, the depth/complexity of their stories, the scope/span of their humanity—is one antidote to objectification.

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“It’s a long time since I drank champagne.”

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These are Anton Chekhov’s last words, and the Guardian has a slideshow of some sometimes funny, sometimes chilling last words of quite a few literary figures.

(And while we’re talking about slideshows, I’d actually recommend the Jacket Copy write-up instead of the Guardian’s, because slideshows drive me freakin’ bonkers.

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Rebecca Steinitz: The Last Book I Loved, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

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9781906462079The last book I loved was Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey. I hadn’t loved a book in a while, but I thought I might love this one because it is a Persephone book, and I also quite loved the cover which features a 1930s Harold Knight painting of a languid young lady in a sea-colored sweater and yellow skirt, reading on a window seat, with downs or cottages or some such British landscape murkily visible through the window beside her.

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