Saturday, June 14, 2008

Virginia Woolf

Last night I relaxed in "reading bed" with my daughter (she fell asleep next to me) and finished The Hidden Target. It's an exciting book, and I'm glad to have had the experience of reading something different from my usual choices.

Eager for more moments of illumination, I'm now ready to delve into other books and stories, fiction and non-fiction, that have been waiting for my attention. I think Women & Fiction: Short Stories by and about Women will hold my interest because I've already read some of it and was completely transfixed by Virginia Woolf's short story, The New Dress, in which the protagonist, Mabel Waring, expresses great angst and feels awkward in the "idiotically old-fashioned" new dress she has had made and wears to an afternoon tea. Such honesty! (What woman has not felt that her own choice of clothing was wrong at some time?)

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English novelist and essayist, was Adeline Virginia Stephen prior to her marriage to writer Leonard Woolf in 1912. She was both a feminist and a modernist. Her novels often departed from traditional plots to follow the inner lives and musings of her characters. A writer of extreme sensitivity and talent, Virginia Woolf may have been bipolar; she struggled with her own heightened awareness (like the main character in the New Dress), and bouts of depression, and ended her own life by drowning herself in a river, weighed down by stones in her pockets.

Photo from Wikipedia.

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