Daily Archives: January 25, 2011

Virginia Woolf


The only surviving recording of Woolf: a talk delivered on the BBC in April 1937 under the title “Craftsmanship.”  It was part of a series called “Words Fail Me.”

Today is Virginia Woolf‘s birthday (1882-1941).

Frye in his 1948 Canadian Forum review of Woolf’s posthumously published The Moment and Other Essays :

Like its predecessors, it makes very agreeable reading, but indicates that Virginia Woolf was as minor a figure in criticism as she was a major one in the novel.  She was a great novelist, with a consciousness about form and structure more Continental than English.  For the English novel, as she occasionally complains, has usually been rather like one of the county houses it so often describes: rambling in structure, provincial in setting, showing a good deal of improvising in the building, full of drafts caused by loose ends of plot and loopholes in motivation, and with the less mentionable aspects of existence difficult to access yet marked by a pervasive smell.  Virginia Woolf’s novels looked “experimental,” not because she was trying stunts but because she went all out for whatever novel she was writing, determined not to let it go until every detail had been hammered into the right shape and place.  So although words like “subtlety” and “delicacy” spring to mind first in connection with her, these qualities are, as they should be, the results of great imaginative energy and vigorous craftsmanship. (CW 26, 80)