Posts Tagged: virginia woolf
Vogue is turning 100 this year, and to celebrate they’ve pulled a favorite piece from their archives: Virginia Woolf, addressing what it is to love the work of an author, and why....more
For Open Culture, Ayun Halliday investigates Patti Smith’s relationship to objects and literature, highlighting how the songwriter, artist, and author looks to objects in order to feel “closer” to her favorite writers:
She and husband Smith celebrated their first anniversary by collecting stones from the French Guiana penal colony, Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, in an effort to feel closer to Jean Genet, one of her most revered authors.
What I should have said to that crowd was that our interrogation of Woolf’s reproductive status was a soporific and pointless detour from the magnificent questions her work poses. (I think at some point I said, “Fuck this shit,” which carried the same general message and moved everyone on from the discussion.) After all, many people have children; only one made To the Lighthouse and The Waves, and we were discussing Woolf because of the books, not the babies.
It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.
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....more
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 .
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.
For the New York Review of Books, Tim Parks writes about why we should read new books, when there’s so many “classics…available at knockdown prices”:
As a reviewer of books she would often pan, Virginia Woolf thought one of the pleasures of reading contemporary novels was that they forced you to exercise your judgment.