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Virginia Woolf. General Orientation. Publications by & About VW . Amazon search on VW as author: 174 hits (audio, different editions)

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virginia woolf

Virginia Woolf

General Orientation

publications by about vw
Publications by & About VW
  • Amazon search on VW as author: 174 hits (audio, different editions)
  • Amazon search on VW as subject: 382 hits, including about a dozen recent biographies (but this mixes Edward Albee play and movie, which are not about Woolf at all, though this is the most powerful association with Woolf for many people)
  • Salmon Library search on VW as subject: 113 hits (some of them e-books).
woolf s opus
Woolf’s Opus
  • 15 books published in her lifetime (10 of them novels)
  • Dozens (maybe hundreds) of book reviews and essays
  • The earliest modern feminist criticism, A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas
  • 6 volumes of letters, 5 volumes of diaries (posthumously pub. in the 1970s-80s)
woolf societies
Woolf Societies
  • International Virginia Woolf Society publishes a Miscellany (since 1973) and Woolf Studies Annual (since 1995), which collects papers from the Woolf conference (now in its 14th year)
  • Vwoolf listserv – over 600 subscribers
  • France and Japan have their own Woolf societies
woolf on film
Woolf on Film
  • Movies have been made of
    • To the Lighthouse (1983)
    • Orlando (1992)
    • Mrs. Dalloway (1997 with Vanessa Redgrave)
  • Several plays are based on Woolf’s work and/or her life
    • Vita and Virginia
    • A Room of One’s Own (Eileen Atkins)

(Note: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is not about VW.)

woolf imitators
Woolf Imitators
  • Michael Cunningham’s novel The Hours(1998)was inspired by Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, which it imitates in style and structure.
  • Robin Lippincott’s Mr. Dalloway (1999) uses the characters from Woolf’s novel and follows a day in the life of Richard Dalloway two years later. Lippincott imitates Woolf’s style.
  • Numerous authors have copied the title or the informal structure of AROO (see,e.g., Domna Stanton, The Female Autograph)
woolf and the hours
Woolf and The Hours
  • The Hours is now a major motion picture that won the Golden Globe Best Picture and Best Actress award for Nicole Kidman as Woolf (Kidman also won the Oscar).
  • HBJ has reissued all of Woolf’s books, and Mrs. Dalloway sales are way up. (The summer the movie came out, MD ranked #255 in amazon.com sales vs. #355 for The Hours. The following summer, both had slipped way down, but MD was still way ahead: #2727 vs. #7880 for The Hours.)
  • The Vwoolf list thread on Cunningham and The Hours went on at great length.
focus of course
Focus of Course
  • Woolf and Place – especially her emphasis on setting in the three novels studied, and how place informs these works.
  • Woolf and Bloomsbury – especially aesthetic ideas about modernism that this group fostered
  • Woolf and Biography – the autobiographical element in her work makes it both “Modern” and “feminist.”
woolf and bloomsbury
Woolf and Bloomsbury
  • Anti-traditional, breaking with the past – focus on shedding the Victorian culture in which they were raised.
  • Artistic experimentation – Woolf’s experiments with narrative begin with Jacob’s Room (1922, same year as Ulysses), and are evident in all of her work. Compare these to the Bloomsbury appreciation for post-impressionist art and to Vanessa Bell’s paintings (at Charleston)
the bloomsbury group
TheBloomsbury Group
  • The name given to a group of friends who lived in the Bloomsbury district of central London and became associated with an artistic and intellectual aesthetic.
  • Woolf describes its origins in “Old Bloomsbury,” associating it with the move from her family home in staid Hyde Park Gate to 62 Gordon Square, a house her sister Vanessa Bell found for the four Stephen children (all in their early 20s) , after their father died in 1904. Her older brother Thoby’s Cambridge friends made the house a center of lively conversation about the arts, politics, even economics. (You will hear more about these people in a student presentation.)
woolf biographical criticism
Woolf & Biographical Criticism
  • People become wrapped up in Woolf’s life and times, the interesting people she knew, especially theBloomsbury Group
  • Her published diaries and letters, plus the fact that practically everybody who knew her wrote memoirs, give unusual access to Woolf’s thoughts and ideas
  • All of her books are to some degree autobiographical, and she was interested in biography as a genre, writing a formal biography of her friend Roger Frye, the art critic who invented the term “post-impressionism” and brought the first exhibit of the work of Cezanne, Picasso, Manet, and others to London in 1910.
biographical studies
Biographical Studies

·   It is rare to read an article written since 1980 that does not refer to the diaries or letters (published in the 1970s), spurred by the abbreviated Writer’s Diary(1953 UK, edited by Leonard Woolf).

·  This approach has had some negative effects, especially in emphasizing her life more than her art, particularly as:

  • amadwoman who committed suicide
  • an incest survivor
  • a “case,” conflating the woman and her writing (see Rachel Bowlby 13)
auto biography in novels
Auto/Biography in Novels
  • Mrs. Dalloway – topic of mental illness and suicide draw on her own experience; details of London streets draw on her lifetime in that city
  • To the Lighthouse – her most autobiographical novel; based on her own family, especially her parents.
  • Orlando – a pseudo-biography using facts from the ancestry of her friend Vita Sackville-West (including photographs).