Virginia Woolf Archive

Stories Strangely Told: Zadie Smith’s “The Embassy of Cambodia”

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
One of the ceaseless joys of narrative, however we try to contain it, is how it bursts through the walls of expectation. The drama's there too in language—its strict rules, its constant bend and flex toward newness.

Preserving Intent: What’s Lost in the Cinematic Translation of Mrs. Dalloway

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
I like to follow up my reading of a text with its cinematic counterpart. After finishing Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, I rented the DVD of the same name with great anticipation. But after the credits rolled, I was unsatisfied: while the cinematic version of Woolf’s novel provides a touching

Our Matriarchs of Letters

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
  Every year, the VIDA Count reminds us just how far women have to go in order to achieve gender parity in the publishing world. This Women’s History Month, let’s reflect on twenty-six centuries of firsts from women writers. From Ancient Greece to the Baltimore Uprising, these eight women

Fear and Narrative

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
There’s a little door in the corner of our almost-three-year-old daughter’s bedroom, and she’s very convinced something is going to come out of it. It isn’t even a door, really—it’s an access panel for getting at the problematic plumbing in the bathroom next door. I’ve come to really, really

Woolf at the Table: Good Dinner, Good Talk

Author: | Categories: Authors, Fiction, Reading No comments
I have always been enchanted by Virginia Woolf and—being an avid cook and food writer myself—by gastronomic references in literature, both fiction and nonfiction. So when I learned about a book about the eating habits of the Bloomsbury set, of which Woolf was a member, I took notice. The

Round-Down: Historical Underpinnings of Continual Sexism in Publishing

Author: | Categories: Round-Up No comments
  Writer Catherine Nichols’ recent experiment, in which she submitted a manuscript to agents under a male pseudonym and received eight-and-a-half times the number of responses that the same manuscript received under her real name, confirms a gender bias in publishing that desperately needs addressing. Nichols is not without precedent in

Try to Become Him

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
One thing I’ve learned teaching in the Cornell Prison Education Program is that a person in prison, more often than not, is someone whose whole life has felt like a long imprisonment. People don’t become prisoners at random. First came the violences of neglect or poverty. Or the glimpses of

“Death!/ Plop.”: The Instructive Power of Very Bad Art

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
In the basement of three small theaters in Massachusetts lives a collection of some of humankind’s worst artistic efforts: the Museum of Bad Art. Everything in the collection is gloriously, earnestly bad (the curators reject anything that seems bad by intention). You can go there. You should. The photograph

Do-Overs: Text Redux

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
I love art from other art. Ballets inspired by narratives. Garments influenced by architecture. Paintings that translate sound into color. Recognizable connections light up our synapses. We like things that remind us of other things, particularly if the connections are clever. (How else do you explain the popularity of

Indy Spotlight: Paris Press

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
During the war, we felt the silence in the policy of the governments of English-speaking countries. That policy was to win the war first, and work out the meanings afterward. The result was, of course, that the meanings were lost. You cannot put these things off. One of the