Letters To Virginia Woolf

Overview

Letters to Virginia Woolf is both a lyrical memoir and meditation on Woolf's life and writing. Starting with the events of 9/11, Williams examines Woolf's anti-war views and their relevance to our present time. In her pacifist manifesto, Three Guineas, Woolf wrote, "A common interest unites us; it is one world, one life." This book explores the events of 9/11 within the context of Woolf's passionate cry for a world without war. In six concise parts, Lisa Williams writes letters to Virginia Woolf that reflect on ...

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Overview

Letters to Virginia Woolf is both a lyrical memoir and meditation on Woolf's life and writing. Starting with the events of 9/11, Williams examines Woolf's anti-war views and their relevance to our present time. In her pacifist manifesto, Three Guineas, Woolf wrote, "A common interest unites us; it is one world, one life." This book explores the events of 9/11 within the context of Woolf's passionate cry for a world without war. In six concise parts, Lisa Williams writes letters to Virginia Woolf that reflect on Woolf's ideas about war, memory, and childhood as well as her own experiences with these very issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Scarecrow Reviews
Every once in a while a book comes your way, almost as if from out of the ether, that moves you to such an extent it forces you, at all costs, to make other people read it too. Lisa Williams's Letters to Virginia Woolf seems to be one of those books.
— Lee John Rourke, Managing Editor
Calyx
Williams knows how to write prose and does so with skillful precision. Whether eloquent, blunt, or a cunning combination of the two, she picks apart some of the most intriguing experiences she has faced and lays them down on paper for her readers without apology or personal bias. What makes the book work so well as a memoir is that Williams does not pretend to speak for all women, but still manages to write in a style that gives a universality to her experiences, thus creating a strong sense of kinship with female readers.
— Angela B. Wade
Lifewriting Annual
Williams emerges as a strong creative voice, tempting hubris on all levels, walking honestly through a shock of personal and global dimensions, and finally, standing with Virginia Woolf as a woman whose country is the whole world.
— Suzanne Bellamy
Woolf Studies Annual
For those readers who are more engaged with Woolf's internal life and a writer's creative process toward self-discovery, Letters to Virginia Woolf offers a potential touchstone.
— June Elizabeth Dunn
Tuzyline Jita Allan
Featured in January 2006's Wisconsin BookwatchLetters to Virginia Woolf takes a fresh look at the enduring impact of Woolf's legacy. This grippingly personal testimony of the value of female influence demonstrates the bonding power of women's creative imagination. Lisa Williams successfully demonstrates how to communicate across boundaries of difference and in the process helps to make Woolf accessible across cultures.
Lisa Low
Pure poetry Letters to Virginia Woolf is a book not only of considerable significance—I am convinced Woolf herself would sit up and listen to it if she could.
Chella Courington
Few write with more honesty and lyricism about tough issues than Lisa Williams in Letters to Virginia Woolf. Williams faces the complexity of adolescence, divorce, childbirth, death and war with heartfelt intelligence, reminding us that struggle and loss often lead to an appreciation of life's wonder. Like Woolf who grappled with 'The Angel in the House' almost a century ago, Williams continues to wrestle with the luminous presence of the past as she peels back 'layers of selves we outgrow but never discard.' Letters to Virginia Woolf guides us through this world of contradiction and offers hope for the dangerous time in which we live.
Scarecrow Reviews - Lee John Rourke
Every once in a while a book comes your way, almost as if from out of the ether, that moves you to such an extent it forces you, at all costs, to make other people read it too. Lisa Williams's Letters to Virginia Woolf seems to be one of those books.
Jeanne Dubino
"(Letters)... additionally belongs to what one might call the literature of disaster, specifically the literature inspired by 9/11, including Frédéric Beigbeder's Windows on the World, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Ian McEwan's Saturday....Letters is ultimately a book about recovery and regeneration from pain, both personal and public."
Jane Marcus
How I loved this book and wept.
Calyx - Angela B. Wade
Williams knows how to write prose and does so with skillful precision. Whether eloquent, blunt, or a cunning combination of the two, she picks apart some of the most intriguing experiences she has faced and lays them down on paper for her readers without apology or personal bias. What makes the book work so well as a memoir is that Williams does not pretend to speak for all women, but still manages to write in a style that gives a universality to her experiences, thus creating a strong sense of kinship with female readers.
Lifewriting Annual - Suzanne Bellamy
Williams emerges as a strong creative voice, tempting hubris on all levels, walking honestly through a shock of personal and global dimensions, and finally, standing with Virginia Woolf as a woman whose country is the whole world.
Woolf Studies Annual - June Elizabeth Dunn
For those readers who are more engaged with Woolf's internal life and a writer's creative process toward self-discovery, Letters to Virginia Woolf offers a potential touchstone.
May 2007 Journal Of The Association For Research On Mothering
William's prose is eloquent and direct.
Jane Lilienfeld
Because the book is so accessible, it will help readers who are 'afraid of Virginia Woolf,' and will appeal to many women on many levels. It will not exclude male readership. This is a great service to all readers of Virginia Woolf.
Sandra McDonald
Lisa Williams's use of Woolf's work is sensitive and apt, illuminating both the original quote and its relevance to our situation in the twenty-first century.
Kim Bofo
Williams acknowledge[s] that life, often fragile and tenuous, is forever changed in ways that are beyond our control. And, in a series of moving, heart-felt and deeply personal letters to Virginia Woolf, she explores the notion of lost innocence, using Woolf's ideas about war, memory, and childhood as a catalyst...[What] really shines through [in] Williams's short book is her appreciation of life's wonder in all its complexity and fragility.
*-Kim Bofo, Reading Matters*
From the Publisher
Featured in January 2006's Wisconsin Bookwatch
Mark Sarvas
Told in six parts which leap off from 9/11 and incorporate Woolf's own thoughts and writing along the way, Williams delivers a heartfelt and elegant anti-war statement without stridency or self-righteousness. The effect is quiet and gradual and, in these unfortunate times, surprisingly salutary.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761832058
  • Publisher: Hamilton Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 0.22 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Williams is Professor of Literature, Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is the author of The Artist as Outsider in the Novels of Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf (2000). Professor Williams holds a doctorate in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Acknowledgments Chapter 2 Abbreviations Chapter 3 Part I Chapter 4 Part II Chapter 5 Part III Chapter 6 Part IV Chapter 7 Part V Chapter 8 Part VI Chapter 9 Works Cited Chapter 10 About the Author

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