Monday, April 15, 2013

59 Things You Didn't Know About Virginia Woolf?

This is a list called "59 Things You Didn't Know About Virginia Woolf'."  Given all that we’ve learned about Woolf this semester, I saw this list as a way to challenge myself and see how many I already knew. My personal favorites were numbers 2 and 9 (assuming all are true).

Number two is, “For a time, Woolf wrote while standing at a desk 3’6″ tall because she wanted to be like a painter who could instantly step away from her canvas to get a better view.” This reminded me of the other day’s reading of the opening page of The Waves, and how Woolf almost paints for us a picture of the scene she describes. I think envisioning Woolf writing like a painter at her canvas also brings to light her discussion in A Room of One’s Own. Woolf doesn’t think writing is about being hunched over, writing agitatedly over the oppressions of women, but about being free-minded and creative. When Woolf is requesting that women not overtly write about the frustrations of their positions, in a way she’s asking them to write like they would paint, to use a medium more subtle than the direct expression of their thoughts, the way painting functions as a less direct expression of the painter’s. Less direct and overt does not mean less insightful, as abstract expressionists and post-Impressionists have proven time and again.

Number nine is “Woolf was highly critical of her friends’ eating habits at the dinner table, often reproving them for eating with either too little grace or too much enthusiasm.” This reminded me of something someone would say about Mrs. Ramsay. It’s interesting that, even though in comparison to Mrs. Ramsay Woolf seems so strong, independent, and nontraditional, the two share this small similarity despite their wholly different personalities. It makes sense that Woolf can present such complex characters in her work, since she herself was such a complex and unpredictable character.

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