Recollections of Virginia Woolf by Her Contemporaries

Recollections of Virginia Woolf by Her Contemporaries Would that I ever have friends who remember me so fondly and keenly, and with so much respect.Even in the negligible pieces there are some solid gold anecdotes Leonard recounting the story of when Henry James came to tea when VW was young, and tipped over backwards in his chair, and still finished his sentence from the floor Genius Anything about the exchanges between VW and Walpole Genius. In the words of its editor, This book is not intended to provide an assessment of Virginia Woolf s work A great deal has already been written about her novels and critical essays It is concerned essentially with Virginia Woolf herself about whom little has been said in print It has been written by people who knew her either intimately as relations and friends, or who met her from time to time over a period of years and were acquaintances Whatever the relationship, their knowledge of her is of course first hand it extends over the greater part of her adult life, and is set down in these pages mostly in the form of reminiscences, impressions and anecdotes The contributors include T S Eliot, Elizabeth Bowe, E M Forster, Rebecca West, Christopher Isherwood, Stephen Spender, and Vita Sackville West The cumulative effect of this splendid collection is to display the complexities of one of this century s greatest writers, an alternately witty, jealous, teasing, warm, malicious, generous woman, who finally took her own life in TheI read about Virginia Woolf thefascinating I find her life I only wish I had read some of her novels and essays earlier This book of short essays or interviews about her from friends, a servant, associates and in the case of Rebecca West enemy and envious of her is enlightening A common theme was she was a genius, witty, a malevolent humour at times and an incredible imagination She made an impact on many people she met both good and bewildering in parts She was a lady and li TheI read about Virginia Woolf thefascinating I find her life I only wish I had read some of her novels and essays earlier This book of short essays or interviews about her from friends, a servant, associates and in the case of Rebecca West enemy and envious of her is enlightening A common theme was she was a genius, witty, a malevolent humour at times and an incredible imagination She made an impact on many people she met both good and bewildering in parts She was a lady and lived through turbulent times with a competitive streak in a lot of what she did A great book to get an insight into who Virginia Woolf was and also was not These recollections from friends and contemporaries of Virginia Woolf leave us with a wonderfully multi faceted portrait of Virginia Woolf, we see her here as a friend an acquaintance, an employer, sister in law and wife In his introduction Michael Holroyd, reminds us of the salient facts of Virginia Woolf s life and death in his brief biography From here we move straight to the testimonies of the people who knew her Joan Russell Noble has collected together a raft of different voices, who sh These recollections from friends and contemporaries of Virginia Woolf leave us with a wonderfully multi faceted portrait of Virginia Woolf, we see her here as a friend an acquaintance, an employer, sister in law and wife In his introduction Michael Holroyd, reminds us of the salient facts of Virginia Woolf s life and death in his brief biography From here we move straight to the testimonies of the people who knew her Joan Russell Noble has collected together a raft of different voices, who share their memories, impressions and criticisms of a woman who still has the power to fascinate and move us.There are some big names in this book another reason it is so readable Vita Sackville West, T S Eliot, E M Forster, Christopher Isherwood, Rebecca West and David Cecil to name just a few.The collection opens with a lovely childhood memory from Ann Stephens, she relates how she heard servants gossiping about Mrs W, the talk made her rather nervous, yet when Virginia appeared, young Ann was totally charmed So right away we begin to get the idea that the idea people had of Virginia Woolf was not always borne out by their later experiences of actually knowing or at least meeting her.full review some gems of anecdotes that make virginia come alive for me, but otherwise the impressions on display here are repetitive one could say consistent but i m glad that almost all of her contemporaries concluded that she was, after all, a fluid and ineffable composite. I thoroughly enjoyed this book It presents generally brief yet insightful protraits of Virginia Woolf by many of those who knew her best It was interesting to read the number of instances of the various contributors noting the same particular aspects of Mrs Woolf s appearance, character and personality As one would expect, opinions and appreciations of her work were a bitdivergent The book concludes with a piece by E.M Forster, who, as he states,.knew her ever since she started I thoroughly enjoyed this book It presents generally brief yet insightful protraits of Virginia Woolf by many of those who knew her best It was interesting to read the number of instances of the various contributors noting the same particular aspects of Mrs Woolf s appearance, character and personality As one would expect, opinions and appreciations of her work were a bitdivergent The book concludes with a piece by E.M Forster, who, as he states,.knew her ever since she started writing He provides a fitting summation on the book s final page Virginia Woolf got through an immense amount of work, she gave acute pleasure in new ways, she pushed the light of the English language a little further against the darkness Had this been longer, I would have given it a five star rating without a doubt. I ve been reading this one alongside Hermione Lee s biography of Woolf, and they ve made quite the pair Lee s methodology seems almost to perform a sort of representational fragmentation inasmuch as she argues that the sort of knowing we tend to assume in understanding a person is always fictive a person can never be exhaustively represented by another , so reading these recollections where people do try to capture VW in a half dozen or fewer pages offered a very different vision of Woolf I ve been reading this one alongside Hermione Lee s biography of Woolf, and they ve made quite the pair Lee s methodology seems almost to perform a sort of representational fragmentation inasmuch as she argues that the sort of knowing we tend to assume in understanding a person is always fictive a person can never be exhaustively represented by another , so reading these recollections where people do try to capture VW in a half dozen or fewer pages offered a very different vision of Woolf At the same time, interestingly, many of the essayists in this collection articulate that sense of irreducibility with Woolf they seem rather uneasy with the attempt to capture her in words Nevertheless, a number of things cropped up over and again Woolf was a paragon of gaiety she has a malicious streak in her humor though not as cruel a streak as Lytton Strachey, so they say she had a bone beauty, a beautiful but strange image that came up on several occasions There were numerous hilarious anecdotes about Woolf here, such as Plomer s story of Woolf becoming so exasperated with a Charles Morgan novel that she simply threw it out the window, or Barbara Bagenal s remembrance of VW telling her not to put pins in her mouth Barbara, only professionals do that, it is very dangerous , or VW managing to make everyone laugh during the air raid as she and her guest and her two servants are hiding underneath the kitchen table Certainly there are several here who attempt to paint VW as a kind of nervous genius, a mermaid, the Lady of Shalott, the madwoman in an artistic trance But just as many simply remember their experiences, limited, with fondness, affection, great joy in having known her.There are some unsurprising ones T.S Eliot s is, shocker, ridiculously pretentious and some that will stop you in your tracks I think Isherwood Forster both offer astonishing pieces of prose here Louie Mayer s the Woolves cook for decades is wonderfully to the point and heartfelt Angelica Garnett s is revealingly conflicted Perhaps the standout essay here, though, is the only one that s almost wholly negative w.r.t VW Rebecca West s the entire thing is a quite brilliantly twisted exercise in making backhanded compliments Vanessa and Virginia are untidy, they always looked as if they had been drawn through a hedge backwards there is a beautiful Victorian phrase, according to West a well turned out woman Virginia, however, was not well turned out For West, The Waves is pre Raphaelite kitsch A Room of One s Own shouldn t be taught in schools too much is made of The Common Reader West closes on affection but leaves a sour taste in the mouth It s a quite witty, fiendish, well turned out essay, even if I find the motivation misguided.Another interesting thing is hearing VW s peers discuss her work almost all agree that she s what you would call a genius, but some critique her inability to fully pin down her characters one of my favorite things of her style, actually , some love A Room, some despise her feminism, most adore The Waves To the Lighthouse, but there s much disagreement on Orlando The Common Reader and the diaries are almost universally praised Three Guineas almost universally despised In the end, finally, Woolf s own words come to me, though no one in the book quotes this passage from Mrs Dalloway For there she was OK now there s a hole in my heart I don t know how genuine it was when she said she hated being in a room withthan a certain number of people She must in some way have enjoyed that Because the parties in her books, I think, are extremely enjoyable elizabeth bowen Virginia, on the contrary, was shy and awkward, often silent or, if in the mood to talk, would leap into fantasy and folly and terrify the innocent and unprepared This combination of limpid beauty and demon s tongue proved OK now there s a hole in my heart I don t know how genuine it was when she said she hated being in a room withthan a certain number of people She must in some way have enjoyed that Because the parties in her books, I think, are extremely enjoyable elizabeth bowen Virginia, on the contrary, was shy and awkward, often silent or, if in the mood to talk, would leap into fantasy and folly and terrify the innocent and unprepared This combination of limpid beauty and demon s tongue proved fatal to those who were too timid to respond and who, ensnared while unconscious, woke like Bottom to find themselves in a fairyland echoing with malicious laughter angelica garnett a true aqua sun aries moon queen


About the Author: Joan Russell Noble

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Recollections of Virginia Woolf by Her Contemporaries book, this is one of the most wanted Joan Russell Noble author readers around the world.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *