virginia's vivid nightmares
It's far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.

'Western wind, when wilt thou blow?
[That ] the small rain down can rain.
Christ, if my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!’

The impact of poetry is so hard and direct that for the moment there is no other sensation except that of the poem itself. (…) The illusion of fiction is gradual; its effects are prepared; but who when they read these lines stops to ask who wrote them, or conjures up the thought of Donne’s house or Sidney’s secretary; or enmeshes them in the intricacy of the past and the succession of generations? The poet is always our contemporary.

Virginia Woolf, How Should One Read a Book? (The Second Common Reader)

(Source: borjen)

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(very stupid)
Virginia Woolf, in a letter to Elizabeth Bowen, 2 May 1936 (via borjen) | Permalink
I am drowning, my dear, in seas of fire.


Yesterday I had tea in Mary’s room & saw the red lighted tugs go past & heard the swish of the river: Mary in black with lotus leaves round her neck. If one could be friendly with women, what a pleasure – the relationship so secret & private compared with relations with men. Why not write about it? truthfully?
Virginia Woolf in her diary, Saturday 1st November 1924 | Permalink
I luxuriate more in a whole day alone; a day of easy natural poses; slipping tranquilly off into the deep water of my own thoughts, navigating the underworld.
Virginia Woolf, Diary Entry, 18 June 1926. (via mirroir)

(Source: fleurstains, via airwalker)

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"Something dreadful has happened to me" he said, staring very steadily with his great wide open eyes. At which I, being frivolous, laughed. "But it was dreadful," upon wh. to the credit of my heart, it stopped beating, expecting cancer. And then he told me the story of the mad French peasant woman who shot herself for love of him on the cliff at Havre looking towards England. "And so my last chance of happiness is gone" said Roger. And so we walked down Tottenham Court Rd in the pouring rain, I protesting affection, & Roger saying that he was fated; he was cursed; he had never had more than 3 weeks happiness in his life.
Virginia Woolf in her diary, Saturday 14th June 1924 | Permalink
London is enchanting. I step out upon a tawny coloured magic carpet, it seems, & get carried into beauty without raising a finger.
Virginia Woolf in her diary on Monday 5th May 1924 | Permalink

"Cunningham’s inventive , absorbing novel makes a sensitive reinvention of Woolf’s inner life. He has a strong idea of what made Woolf’s life heroic, of her dedication to her work in the teeth of illness, and her violent swings between moods of pleasure in life and abysses of depression.

My reservations about his re-imagining of Woolf stem from a biographer’s squeamish reluctance to see a real person made over into a fictional character, with made-up thoughts and speeches. I found it hard to accept the tone of voice of a Virginia Woolf who thinks to herself: ‘Bless you, Quentin’, or to her husband, ‘If you send Nelly in to interrupt me I won’t be responsible for my actions.’ In these invented scenes and conversations, the class details don’t always ring quite true. I can’t hear Virginia Woolf wanting to rush and ‘fix her hair’, or Vanessa Bell commenting on a ‘lovely coat for Angelica at Harrods’. (Angelica would be much more likely to be wearing a cut-down jacket of Duncan Grant’s, or a velvet cloak made out of old curtains.) But fiction, of course, is allowed to do this.”

"The rewriting of Woolf’s life and work takes a different shape again in the translation of The Hours from novel into screenplay and film. If an uncertainty of social register, a narrowing of political focus to issues of gender, and a simplifying dramatisation of Woolf’s creative processes were the weaknesses of Cunningham’s otherwise persuasive and attractive novel, the film of The Hours - if treated as a biopic - is much more vulnerable to charges of vulgarisation, inacurracy and sentimentalisation.

Certainly its presentation of the social details of the Woolfs’ lives were an irritant to this biographer. Hogarth House and Monk’s House look too grand and elegant, more like Edith Wharton or Vita Sackville-West’s house and garden than bohemian, messy colourful Bloomsbury. The servants, in their matching uniforms, are too smartly turned out (though their ongoing battle with their difficult mistress is well done), and Vanessa, in a fine spiteful performance by Miranda Richardson, is absurdly posh, a high-society lady one couldn’t possibly imagine picking up a paintbrush.”

Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf’s Nose

2 months ago | Permalink
How dare she, how dare anyone, consider Woolf his or her “territory”? I know of no other figure who inspires such ferocious possessiveness.
Michael Cunningham writing to Hermione Lee | Permalink

postcards from the Virginia Woolf exhibition today


postcards from the Virginia Woolf exhibition today

I detest the masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and honour. I think the best these men can do is not talk about themselves anymore.

Virginia Woolf