Virginia Woolf: Interviews and Recollections

Overview

A coherent view of so extraordinarily chameleon a temperament and talent as Virginia Woolf's is, of course, almost impossible. If Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse needs 'fifty pairs of eyes' to take in a woman as simple as Mrs. Ramsay, even more pairs seem desirable for focusing on Virginia Woolf. The difficulty of a balanced viewpoint for some of her memoirists, a demanding enough task at the best of times, was compounded by the enthusiasm with which she sometimes donned a mask and by conversation whose ...
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Overview

A coherent view of so extraordinarily chameleon a temperament and talent as Virginia Woolf's is, of course, almost impossible. If Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse needs 'fifty pairs of eyes' to take in a woman as simple as Mrs. Ramsay, even more pairs seem desirable for focusing on Virginia Woolf. The difficulty of a balanced viewpoint for some of her memoirists, a demanding enough task at the best of times, was compounded by the enthusiasm with which she sometimes donned a mask and by conversation whose notorious brilliance veered at moments towards the flamboyant, the wildly inaccurate, or the cruel. To penetrate this mask, Virginia Woolf: Interviews and Recollections provides multifaceted perspectives on Woolf as observed and remembered by relatives, close friends, acquaintances, and fellow writers from Vanessa Bell, Arnold Bennett, and Edith Sitwell to Marguerite Yourcenar, Rose Macaulay, and Stephen Spender. Gathered from widely scattered sources, the forty-one pieces collected here give an intimate and compelling portrait of a fascinating individual whom many consider one of the twentieth century's most significant writers. Covering her famous lectures at Cambridge, her role in the Hogarth Press, and her presence in the literary and social world of her day as well as her roles as sister, wife, and friend, this varied collection sheds light on the public and private personalities of Virginia Woolf the subtle poetic novelist, the devoted friend, and the influential and successful publisher.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These 41 short pieces, written by friends, relatives and colleagues of Woolf (1882-1941), present her in a kinder light than previous studies. Stape, professor of English at Japan Women's University in Tokyo, has carefully chosen a wide selection of illuminating personal observations of Woolf. Excerpts from the diary of friend and lover Vita Sackville-West during a trip the two took to France reveal women who knew how to enjoy themselves. Other accounts by Bloomsbury regular Clive Bell (Virginia's brother-in-law) and writer Gerald Brenan describe a friendly conversationalist who enjoyed people. Husband Leonard testifies to his wife's genius and her conscientious work habits. Other accounts note Woolf's feminist sympathies and praise her physical beauty, wit and devotion to friends. Although Woolf drowned herself, writer Rose Macaulay remembers her as possessing a remarkable ``zest for life.'' (Feb.)
Library Journal
A good complement to Virginia Woolf's own diary writing, this compilation builds a multiperspective portrait of Woolf as seen by 42 of her contemporaries, including her husband, sister, other relatives, and literary associates. Dating from 1910 to 1986, the essays reflect both Woolf while still alive and Woolf as a memory after her death in 1941. Especially interesting are the variations in opinions and interpretations. Frequently discussed topics include Woolf's much-adored letters, sense of humor, physical appearance, unique viewpoints and presentation style, bouts of mental instability, interest in people-especially those different from her-and desire to "particularize," not "generalize." While aspiring writers will relish the details of Woolf's work habits, researchers will benefit from the footnotes and detailed index. And lay readers will enjoy the passionate, anecdotal tone that personalizes the legacy of this great literary figure. Recommended for most collections.-Cedar Carlton, Stanford Univ., Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877454946
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
A Note on the Text
A Virginia Woolf Chronology
Notes on Virginia's Childhood 3
Cousin Virginia 9
Meeting Virginia Woolf 12
Mrs Woolf Comes to Dinner 14
Virginia Woolf at Girton 15
Tea with Virginia Woolf 17
Virginia 20
The Diary of Sydney Waterlow 25
At the Theatre 26
The Diary of Lady Ottoline Morrell 27
Mr Bennett and Mrs Woolf 29
The Diary of Beatrice Webb 30
A Week in France with Virginia Woolf 34
At Elizabeth Bowen's 37
'She enjoyed each butterfly aspect of the world' 38
The Diary of Dame Ethel Smyth 39
Virginia in Spain 45
A Woman of Distinction 50
Tavistock Square 52
'Few women since the beginning of the world have equalled her' 70
'The most remarkable human being' 73
About Virginia 78
Virginia and her Set 85
'Electricity in the air' 92
'A genius who worked magic' 93
Tea with a Publisher 115
Memories of the Hogarth Press 117
A Boy at the Hogarth Press 119
Working with Virginia Woolf 124
Virginia Stephen 135
A Life 'rich in experience' 140
'A dazzling yet shy woman' 145
Virginia Woolf: Writer and Personality 147
Virginia Woolf: A Portrait 151
The Death of Virginia Woolf 171
Letters of Condolence 173
Virginia Woolf: A Tribute 176
In Memoriam: Virginia Woolf 178
'A zest for life' 181
A 'rare mind and personality' 184
Remembering Virginia Woolf 187
Index 192
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