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Melony

Virginia Woolf

Do you read any of Woolf's works in your high school curriculum? We don't, but I am just wondering if anyone does. †Or her short stories?
Gino

I have read 'To the lighthouse' and 'Orlando' a fascinating author.
TheRejectAmidHair

Our daughter goes to a secondary school that has received a good inspectorsí report (Ofsted), and, despite having been in the top stream for English for about two years, has not been required to read a single book in its entirety from cover to cover. I doubt very much whether they would be asked to go from Zero to Virginia Woolf within just a few years.
Chibiabos83

I hope that's a typo in the title of the thread, though it does remind me of the time, as a schoolboy, when I went to a concert where a string group played what was printed on the programme as the "Vaginia Reel"...
Melony

Oh dear Lord, yes, that's a typo in the title!  A little too much Latin, can't spell correctly in English!  Although Woolf was a magic wand for the women's movement - lol.  I'll fix it or can I?  Never mind - I don't think I have that capability - maybe one of the very kind moderators could fix it for me? Embarassed
MikeAlx

Have fixed it. Took a while to work out how to do it!

I should think if Woolf is studied in schools at all it would only be at A-level (16-18 year olds). I did all sciences for my A-levels, so wouldn't know!

I do enjoy Woolf though - so far I've read 'Mrs Dalloway', 'Jacob's Room' and 'To the Lighthouse'.
Melony

Thanks so much for fixing the title!  

What about Woolf's short stories - The Haunted House?  Or any essays?  I find it fascinating that it was because she was excluded from the opportunity to study Greek or Classics, as her brothers did, that her understanding of gender exlusion was heightened.
Kirtaniya

I think she did learn some Greek, though, later on.  I remember reading that during one of her mad spells, she would hear the birds singing in Greek.

I like VW's writing - as well as her novels, I enjoy reading her diary.  I like her insights into the 'human condition'.
goldbug

They were an intellectual elite though were nt they... back in the 20s and †30s... the Bloomsbury set !

Virginia had a house in London then they could all retire to their house in the country †to write and pontificate...invite friends to stay, hold parties.
Many of them were born into the elite and just carried on the trend.
MikeAlx

It is true up to a point; Woolf's father Sir Leslie Stephen was famous for editing the first edition of the Dictionary of National Biography. He also wrote 5 major biographies and two important histories of philosophy, amongst other things. He was also quite noted as a mountaineer.

On the other hand, Woolf's gender meant that she did not get a university education, something she was always acutely aware of. The men of the Bloomsbury set were almost exclusively Cambridge graduates.

To the Lighthouse explores many of these things; with fictionalised versions of her mother and father being key characters.

I don't think you can say the Bloomsbury set "carried on a trend". They were radicals, with Bohemian ideals. Compared with their respectable professional parents, they dressed differently, ate differently, thought, wrote and painted differently, and had radically different sexual morals.
goldbug

They were probably champagne socialists to boot !

But Cambridge does ring a bell, was n't Virginia's father a member of that elite Cambridge group... "the  Souls..." or something ?
  He seems an interesting character.. maybe there's a biog out there somewhere.

Her mother, a famous beauty, Julia Prinsep Stephen   was born in India   and later moved to England with her mother, where she served as a model for Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Edward Burne-Jones  Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, was a notable author, critic and mountaineer.
 I suppose with such remarkable parents Virginia was going  to be someone rather special too.
Green Jay

Although she was brought up in a vast house in Kensington with a host of servants, I think the houses of her adulthood were seen as much lower down the pecking order, and were rented, although that wasn't unusual. Monks House at Rodmell is small and Charleston Farmhouse where Vanessa Bell and her family lived was a farmhouse - they look very capacious and desirable by our standards today (when wealthy bankers live in cute thatched cottages)  but must have seemed like living in a tent compared to what many of their class contemporaries had.

Virginia and Leonard did live rather hand to mouth by their standards for many years, although when they bought their first car it was quite grand and they had fun choosing its bottle green leather upholstery, so it wasn't the equivalent of getting a 5th-hand mini traveller with ripped seats. Leonard was well-educated but seen as of "dubious" background if you were a posh old Victorian parent, and didn't have much money at all. I expect the family thought they were just handing Virginia over for him to support back then. I don't know where the Stephen money went, though I have read Hermione Lee's biog some years ago. Did the Stephen children make a decision to move to the house in downtown Bloomsbury, or was there nothing to pass on to them and they had to find something cheaper? Can't remember and am not about to trawl through the fat book again. I think they wanted out of stuffy Kensington. (Now all those houses are embassies.) Later the house in Gordon (?) Square was partly destroyed by bombs.
MikeAlx

Yes, they were definitely an intellectual elite rather than a wealthy elite. Almost all the men in the Bloomsbury Set had to work for a living; the only one who was really wealthy was Clive Bell (who married Woolf's sister Vanessa).
Green Jay

There was a whole edition of Woman's Hour recently devoted to V Woolf and A Room of One's Own i.e. what was required for women to become writers. Did anyone else catch it? I think it's too long ago now for Listen Again, but I've been away for half term and not posting recently.

It didn't go into too much depth, sadly, as the actual writers on it weren't given a lot of time to speak. The programme also visited her house in Rodmell, in Sussex,  and looked at the rooms she used for writing and so on.

I was quite surprised to find out that Jill Dawson wrote several novels and non-fiction books as a single mother of 2 living in a cramped council flat. Good for her! That news almost stopped me envying her description of her writing room in her present architect-designed home (new hubby is the architect - that always helps, I find!)
MikeAlx

I keep meaning to visit Monk's House at Rodmell - it's only 15 minutes drive from where I live!

Anyone writing novels with children around (unless assisted by armies of nannies) is impressive. JG Ballard wrote most of his stuff whilst single-handedly raising 3 kids (his wife died tragically young, when the oldest child was just eight).
Green Jay

Do go and see it, Mike. The house is smaller than I imagined (on Woman's Hour they quoted Angelica Garnett saying it always made her think of going on to a boat - as you step down into it and it's quite narrow and long) but the garden is much bigger than I imagined too. And the river is way, way further away than I imagined, with quite a horrible walk through grim surroundings to it for the last part - she must have really meant it. I always imagined her just walking down to the bottom of the lane and throwing herself in.

The WH programme mentioned all the places in the house where she wrote - including the summerhouse - and that she read aloud or talked to herself in the bathroom she had installed when she earned more money, but unknown to her the cook could hear her in the kitchen. There is a book about the Woolfs' servants and I should like to read that.
Green Jay

MikeAlx wrote:

Anyone writing novels with children around (unless assisted by armies of nannies) is impressive. JG Ballard wrote most of his stuff whilst single-handedly raising 3 kids (his wife died tragically young, when the oldest child was just eight).


I have got his book Among Women (I think that's the title) on my TBR shelf but it hasn't got to the top yet. †I think it is about the stage of his life after China and his marriage.

Your remark is very true, which is why A Room of One's Own still appplies to women especially. I once heard A N Wilson say (or maybe write) rather self-satisfiedly that he worked at the top of a tall house and though he had three little children they were very quiet and kept to the bottom of the house so that he wasn't disturbed by them. And I thought, hmm, someone (wifey) is working very hard at that, and what if you haven't got a wifey, because you are she???
Green Jay

Green Jay wrote:
MikeAlx wrote:

Anyone writing novels with children around (unless assisted by armies of nannies) is impressive. JG Ballard wrote most of his stuff whilst single-handedly raising 3 kids (his wife died tragically young, when the oldest child was just eight).


I have got his book Among Women (I think that's the title) on my TBR shelf but it hasn't got to the top yet. †I think it is about the stage of his life after China and his marriage.



Actually it's called The Kindness of Women, I've just checked. This is what happens when you have bookshelves on one floor of the house and computer on another floor. And are lazy.
Freyda

I have visited Monk's House but when the garden only was open. I would have loved to have seen inside but we were reduced to peering in windows. There is a tenant in part of the house (National Trust) so perhaps this was not very tactful! The garden was lovely, full of bees.
goldbug

Did nt I read that  DH Lawrence  could just  sit down in the corner of a room and  write,  oblivious to the  social goings on and the noise.............
whilst the likes of  Roal  Dahl  had the luxury of  retreating to a shed  at the bottom of his  garden... well  away from the domestic  scene.
Come to think of  it,  didnt  JK  Rowling  write the
Harry Potter novels  in a  tearoom or  cafe ?

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