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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elizabeth and Woolf

Just one more note on Elizabeth of the German Garden (reviewed in previous post), then I promise to leave her alone. This morning while visiting Stefani at So Many Books, I was reminded that I'd planned to mention Elizabeth's comments on Virginia Woolf and had to return to the book to find them. Not as easy as I thought, because oddly enough, Woolf wasn't listed in the Index of Names, and I had to go page by page to find the quotes. It's funny, though, isn't it, how one can remember where on a page a quote is? Right or left page, top, middle, or can remember seeing the lines but not the page number.

Letter to Mark Rainey, June 29, 1927: "...I've nearly finished Virginia's book [To the Lighthouse], if you've not read it, don't till you get away from London and flats and parties. It deserves withdrawal and concentration. It is poetry, but the sort one dreams. No one, I think, who wasn't acquainted with madness, could have written it. It says the things that are really unsayable, in the way poetry does. It's a most terrible, beautiful, heart-agonising book."

June 30: "...I've finished Virginia--real joy that book gave me...."

To Liebet, Nov. 10, 1931: "I've read Virginia Woolf's new book [The Waves]--the one I'm going to send you for Xmas. It is starred with beauty--thickly starred, but is also--well, I'll leave you to your own opinion, which I shall be greatly interested to hear..."

Later, there was a line or two about a disappointment in a Woolf book, but I gave up trying to locate it. Generally, however, each mention of Woolf indicated Elizabeth's appreciation of her talent.


  1. That is funny. I do a lot of flipping to look at "left upper" or "right middle", etc., when I neglect to break out the post-its while I read. What a strange thing to remember. You'd think a page number would be easier to recall.

  2. Bookfool -- I guess we have somehow registered the quote in a different way, but it is odd!