Saturday, February 23, 2013

Heavy in your arms

I took advantage of this rainy Saturday evening to engage in a magical three-way with my couch, t.v, and Papa John's. With Pandora quietly playing in the background, a song by Florence and the Machine came on. It caught my attention and I immediately YouTubed it. The song is basically homage to Virginia Woolf's suicide and the lyrics say it all: 

I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck 
My fingers laced to crown

I was a heavy heart to carry
My feet dragged across the ground
And he took me to the river
Where he slowly let me drown

The lyrics also made me think of Virginia Woolf's suicide note to Leonard. In it she writes:

"I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know." 

Anyways, the video is super eerie but I hope you guys enjoy! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Hours

            I had heard of the movie, “The Hours,” shortly before starting this class. When I realized the movie was based on several characters reading Mrs. Dalloway, I made a mental note to myself to be sure to watch the movie after we finished the book. So a couple days ago that’s exactly what I did. I don't really want to give a movie review. I can honestly see how different people can take the movie in different ways. At points it's a bit slow, and overall a bit depressing, but not surprisingly so.  What I found most fun about watching this movie however was trying to guess which characters in the movie represented characters in the actual novel. For this reason alone I would recommend watching the movie.
            A very nice aspect of the movie is that it shows the lives of three women simultaneously, and how reading Mrs. Dalloway has effected them. One of these women depicted is Virginia Woolf, who is played by Nicole Kidman who I must say is practically unrecognizable ( She actually wore a prosthetic nose for the role). Anyhow I found seeing Woolf’s life played out very interesting. It almost sets up Woolf's life as a character herself, and was personally a reminder for me how much of her own life comes through her novels.
            The second largest role in the movie is a character actually named Clarissa. The story line is that she is throwing a party for her friend who is a writer and has won an award. Her friend jokingly calls her Mrs. Dalloway but it is interesting that at many times we see how her life has literal connections to Clarissa Dalloway of the novel. For example, the movie starts with her buying a bunch of flowers for the party. We also see that many of her relationships throughout the movie resemble similar relationships described in the novel. What I liked about the movie but also what frustrated me was that it really played around with names of the characters. In the movie the writer whom Clarissa is throwing a party for is named Richard. Clarissa in the movie is actually married to a woman named Sally. However, just like the book the movie depicts that there is some distance in their relationship. Sally even brings home flowers for Clarissa and tosses them aside when she sees that the house is filled with flowers already.
            The movie has nice one liners that really make you reflect on the novel, for example, Richard tells Clarissa 'Oh Mrs. Dalloway always giving parties to cover the silence.' This line in particular made me think how in everyday life we ourselves do things, to “put on a show,” or a façade, and just in general distract ourselves from dealing with silence which often fosters reflection of the inevitable truth of what may be conflicting us.
Another line that relates, is when one character asks the other what the book she is reading (Mrs. Dalloway) is about, and she replies, 'this woman who's a hostess and incredibly confident and she's going to give a party, and maybe because she's confident everyone thinks she's fine but she isn't.'
Moments like this and just the fun of trying to pinpoint whose character represents who in the novel makes the movie quite enjoyable and something I’d recommend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another interesting article...

I do not presume to think these will count towards my blog posts, but I cannot help but share. I work at a start up publishing company (shameless plug: so I'm constantly on literary blogs/websites/media of all sorts. I felt I should explain that I wasn't simply googling "Virginia Woolf," but rather that she has suddenly risen to people's consciouses today! All that being said, here is an article in the Newstatesman, entitled:

"Shape shifter: The joyous transgressions of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando"

 You can find the article here!

"Virginia Woolf's fun side revealed in unseen manuscripts"

"No one escapes the sharp wit and teasing by aunt and nephew, and Woolf's humour and mischievous nature are brought to the fore in this new publication by one of the 20th century's greatest authors," said the British Library, which will publish The Charleston Bulletin Supplements for the first time this June.

I found this Guardian article on a forthcoming Virginia Woolf publication. It sounds like it will provide an interesting new insight into her family life.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Self Love

Another year concluded, and another Valentine’s Day passed. The twelve bottles of Moscato currently scattered on my kitchen floor are serving testament to the debauchery that occurred this past Thursday. I had one too many drinks, and may have shared one too many stories, but in the spirit of celebration it was only appropriate.

It was a night to celebrate accomplishments, growths, discoveries, and past relationships. Above all, it was a night to recognize the importance of self-love, which up until recently was something completely foreign to me. Saying, “I love you” to yourself, without laughing, and with some genuine meaning is a serious challenge. Nevertheless, I recommend all of you do it daily. It has made me a better, and less bitchy person. Those who know me best may beg to differ.

Somewhere between the drinks and the laughs, someone brought up the subject of dependence. How when people enter relationships, there is a loss of identity, and a loss of cohesiveness with the self. It’s something beyond control and beyond consciousness. It’s something you don’t realize until it’s all said and done. At least I didn’t realize it until it was all said and done. Heartbroken, alone, and depressed, it took moving to New York City to realize what I wanted because all I wanted when I was with him was, him. When you’re in love, and I mean really in love, you are completely engulfed, immersed and taken. You can’t think of anything else, anyone else, yourself included. I did everything for him, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I also forgot to do things for myself. I began conforming myself to the idea of what I thought I needed to be in order to make him happy. Long story short we got engaged, broke up, and moved on.

My baggage aside, this conversation on dependence along with my own personal reflections had me thinking of Lady Bradshaw. How she exemplifies a woman lost. How her “slow sinking, water-logged of will into his,” represents love’s domination. Although times have changed since Mrs. Dalloway, we still fall mercy to this idea of what love should be. How we should act, what we should do or not do, and what love is. I’ve been a victim to this ideology and I’m sure many of you have as well. Storybook romances such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are in part to blame, which we all know is completely misleading! This notion of living happily ever after is something that we have all grown up with. Lady Bradshaw represents the imperfections of this ideology. She is no longer a woman of her own, but a wife only in existence for her husband. It is no mistake that Woolf doesn’t delve into Lady Bradshaw’s consciousness because she no longer has one of her own. We will never know who she is, because she has drowned in her own identity.  

I never want to be a Lady Bradshaw, and I never want to be where I once was. Self-discovery is not an overnight miracle, but an ongoing and complicated process. Relationships come and go, and despite what may come from them, the relationship with oneself is the most important relationship of all. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mrs. Dalloway With A Twist

So I was on YouTube just searching random stuff and I found a really funny video summarizing Mrs. Dalloway.

It made me laugh, so I hope you like it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mrs. My Husband

Tradition tells us as women that when we are married we must take our husband's surname and make the transition from a Miss to a Mrs. Now, of course, there is the choice to hyphenate, but this is sometimes portrayed as emasculating. Questions are asked about the husband's hold on the wife, and the situation becomes uncomfortable as it always does when someone decides to break from tradition. One contemporary example of this is in the 2010 movie "Hot Tub Time Machine" where Nick Webber-Agnew gets berated for his hyphenated last name by his pals from high school. At the end of the movie the men all get the dream lives that they wanted, and Nick's includes he and his wife dropping the hyphen and her last name even though he previously tried to defend the hyphen as "progressive". I would guess this is a movie probably made to appeal to men, so this joke would be funnier to them since they have nothing to lose. 

The sense of identity that comes with carrying the family name is a lot bigger than one might think for some people, but men never have to think about losing it. In Mrs. Dalloway, which Virginia Woolf wrote in 1925 before the days of hyphenated last names, Clarissa is struggling with leaving her self behind to become Mrs. Richard Dalloway. She even says she felt odd and uncomfortable about, "this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway" (Woolf 10). She had no choice to be progressive.

This specific example of Clarissa's connects very closely with a current topic that me and my friends are very heated about. When we think of progressive power couples the first to come to mind is usually the Obamas and the second is Beyonce and Jay-Z. When Jay-Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, and Beyonce Knowles got married in 2008, they legally changed their last names to Knowles-Carter. This was an admirable choice and one that was to be expected from such a foreword thinking female power figure as Beyonce. She has written songs titled "Independent Women" and "Run the World (Girls)", and her band has been made up of all female musicians since the B'Day tour in 2006. It will be a curious thing, however, to see this all female power house play her next tour which is titled "The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour". After her last show, titled "I Am...World Tour", which was a huge celebration of female empowerment and is probably on the DVD shelf of every dorm apartment at Lincoln Center, this new show seems like a giant step back for the girls who are supposedly running the world. What is most odd about this is that Beyonce retained her last when she got married. She is not even legally named "Mrs. Carter". Hopefully this is a sign that we can expect a feminist twist on the Mrs. My Husband issue from her when the tour starts.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. 1925. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 10. Print.