re-reading: Virginia Woolf

“There was all the difference in the world between this planning airily away from the canvas and actually taking her brush and making the first mark.”  To the Lighthouse


Virginia Woolf  (Roger Fry 1866-1924)            copyright expired

I haven’t read Virginia Woolf’s fiction since I was a student of English at the University of Queensland and to be perfectly frank, that’s a while ago. Browsing through some of those surprisingly un-musty books, I gravitated towards  To the Lighthouse for a revisit.  I remember it as the most enjoyable and accessible of those on the reading list.

I’m bringing fresh eyes to my reading of the novel this time around.  Much of my interest in Woolf as a student was centred around romantic notions of the Bloomsbury Group – creative, intellectual and in some cases troubled individuals.  I had a similar passion for the The Algonquin Round Table in New York during my Dorothy Parker stage, excited by the idea of shared creativity midst behaviours that went beyond the edges of contemporary conformity.

In 1928, a year after To the Lighthouse was published in England, Nettie Palmer  wrote a review for the Brisbane Courier.  Here’s a link to the full review.

I’ll leave the reviews to others. I’ve not yet completed the revisit with Mrs Ramsay, this mother of eight who outwardly, calmly knitted together her family and pairs of socks, and inwardly carried her personal burdens alone.

The Brisbane Courier            4 August 1928

“Praise and blame alike mean nothing. No, delightful as the pastime of measuring may be, it is the most futile of all occupations, and to submit to the decrees of the measurers the most servile of attitudes.”                            A Room of One’s Own

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