Articles by Victoria Olsen
She’s a shadow, an absence, that haunts the letters, diaries, and novels of her famous half-sister Virginia Woolf. What can we really know about Laura Stephen?
Distance is complicated: it measures intimacy, but in unpredictable ways. Rebecca Solnit’s evocative new book explores the meaning of distance and closeness.
Diane Arbus’s photographs are weird. Their subjects are weird. She herself was weird. A new exhibit takes us back to the origins of that strangeness –and asks what it says to us now.
Is loneliness a failure, or just a sign that one is alive? Olivia Laing’s new book explores the paradox of being alone in one of the world’s most crowded cities.
What is the allure of famous cemeteries like Paris’s Père Lachaise? Perhaps the crowds – of graves, and of visitors – reassure us that even in death we won’t really be alone.
For the woman who became dancer Jane Avril, life was transformed when she realized that what had been called mental illness she could claim for herself as art.
Think romance novels aren’t worth taking seriously? The Romance Writers of America’s annual convention brings together thousands of smart, self-aware readers and writers ready and able to prove you wrong.
When Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1964, her moral authority was called into question. Now Margarethe von Trotta’s new film Hannah Arendt explores both who has the right and who has the responsibility to speak about the Holocaust.
“The eye says ‘Here is Anna Karenina,’” wrote Virginia Woolf; “A voluptuous lady in black velvet wearing pearls comes before us. But the brain says ‘that is no more Anna Karenina than it is Queen Victoria.’” Joe Wright’s cinematic adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel avoids the pitfalls of such literalism.
“I knew my trip would mean an encounter with Adela Quested”: Victoria Olsen reflects on what she found, and what was lost in translation, when she travelled to India with E. M. Forster on her mind.
This summer’s London Olympics take us back to 1981’s Chariots of Fire, the 1924 Olympics, and the poetry of William Blake. The connection? All remind us of the fragility of glory and our endless wish to make the past present.