“We know too little of the rhythms of man’s spiritual life.” - Roger Fry
Roger Fry in 1918.
“In the taxonomy of English writing, E.M. Forster is not an exotic creature. We file him under Notable English Novelist, common or garden variety. Yet there is a sense in which Forster was something of a rare bird. He was largely free of vices commonly found in novelists of his generation - what’s unusual about Forster is what he didn’t do. He didn’t lean rightward with the years or allow nostalgia to morph into misanthropy; he never knelt for the pope or queen, nor did he flirt (ideologically speaking) with Hitler, Stalin, or Mao; he never believed the novel was dead or the hills alive, continued to read contemporary fiction after the age of fifty, harbored no special hatred for the generation below or above him, did not come to feel that England had gone to hell in a handbasket, that its language was doomed, that lunatics were running the asylum or foreigners swamping the cities.
Still, like all notable English novelists, he was a tricky bugger.”
© Frances Partridge (source)
Lytton Strachey (right), Rosamond Lehmann and her brother John Lehmann, a publisher and author, at Ham Spray house in Wiltshire
Self-Potrait, Carrington, pencil, c. 1910. (National Portrait Gallery)
There is after all one little life-line to catch hold of: she liked writing.E.M. Forster on Virginia Woolf, from “Virginia Woolf,” a lecture delivered after her death.
These words, which usually mean so little, must be applied to her with all possible intensity. She liked receiving sensations - sights, sounds, tastes - passing them through her mind, where they encountered theories and memories, and then bringing them out again, through a pen, on to a bit of paper. Now began the higher delights of authorship.
Virginia Woolf working; photo taken by Lady Ottoline Morrell in 1926. (National Portrait Gallery)
My apologies for the erratic posting schedule; I’m knee-deep in finals and have barely slept for the last three days. Posting will become more regular next week, once break has arrived!
The voiceover bits are taken from the film version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which was, incidentally, filmed at Smith College. George and Martha’s house is now a set of offices, including one for a professor with whom I took a wonderful anthropology course my first year.
Virginia Woolf, by Freedom or Death.
a little bit bon iver, some great voice-over clips, and an awesomely catchy beat.
Unidentified girl climbing on a statue in the garden of Durbins, Roger Fry’s home in Guildford, Surrey, c. 1913/1914. (Tate Archive.)