Category Archives: Woolf, Virginia

Time Passes

I’m reading To the Lighthouse for the first time. I know, I know. I also know that I should love it, because it is beautiful and moving and brilliant and original — and I sort of do, so far, except when I don’t. I am not a particularly good reader of Woolf’s fiction: it was only […]

“She wrote. She wrote. She wrote.” Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Orlando had so ordered it that she was in an extremely happy position; she need neither fight her age, nor submit to it; she was of it, yet remained herself. Now, therefore, she could write, and write she did. She wrote. She wrote. She wrote. Part way into my book club’s discussion of Orlando, one of […]

Recent Reading Round-Up: Mysteries, Romances, and Feminists

It isn’t that I haven’t done any reading since I posted on Elena Ferrante’s The Story of a New Name; it’s just that none of the reading has felt really notable, or else it has been reading for work and thus not something I necessarily have more to say about here. I’m actually looking forward […]

“She is in love with life”: Winifred Holtby’s Virginia Woolf: A Critical Memoir

In my post on Vera Brittain’s Testament of Friendship, I quoted a passage Brittain includes from Holtby’s letters, addressing her decision to write a critical biography of Virginia Woolf: I took my courage and curiosity in both hands and chose the writer whose art seemed most of all removed from anything I could ever attempt, […]

Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas

It’s hard to spot similarities between Virginia Woolf and the Somerville novelists I’ve been looking at if you focus on Woolf’s fiction. Winifred Holtby wrote a book about Woolf, and as I noted in my post about Testament of Friendship, she did so deliberately because she knew Woolf was such a different novelist: “I took […]

‘She illuminated everything’: Bowen on Virginia Woolf

Elizabeth Bowen to Leonard Woolf, April 8, 1941: Dear Leonard, It was very good of you to write to me, as and when you did. I do thank you. I have been in Ireland for the last three weeks, so your letter, sent on from Clarence Terrace, reached me here last Saturday. I had not […]

More of Woolf on the Victorians: "an abandonment, richness, surprise"

I think I must be on the verge of a breakthrough in my relationship with Virginia Woolf, a writer I have been interested in, drawn to, even, for many years but whose fiction nonetheless I haven’t seemed able to read. I know my way around A Room of One’s Own pretty well, and I have […]

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

I finally read Mrs. Dalloway. It was a strangely unsettling experience. I had tried to read it many times before but never made it past the second page: my problem was (and continues to be) that I don’t altogether understand how to read this novel. It drifts and wanders, and then pauses in a place […]

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