Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25, 1915

Virginia Woolf, painted by her sister, Vanessa Bell


From Virginia Woolf's diary entry, January 25, 1915:

My birthday, - & let me count up all the things I had. L. had sworn he would give me nothing, & like a good wife, I believed him. But he crept into my bed, with a little parcel, which was a beautiful green purse. And he brought up breakfast, with a paper which announced a naval victory (we have sunk a German battle ship) & a square brown parcel, with The Abbot in it - a lovely first edition- So I had a very merry & pleasing morning - which indeed was only surpassed by the afternoon. I was then taken up to town, free of charge, & given a treat, first at a Picture Palace, & then to Buszards. I don't think I've had a birthday treat for 10 years; & it felt like one too - being a frosty day, everything brisk & cheerful, as it should be, but never is. The Picture Palace was a little disappointing - as we never got to the War pictures, after waiting 1 hour & a half. But to make up, we exactly caught a non-stop train, & I have been very happy reading father on Pope, which is very witty & bright - without a single dead sentence in it. In fact, I don't know when I have enjoyed a birthday so much - not since I was a child anyhow. Sitting at tea, we decided three things: in the first place to take Hogarth, if we can get it; in the second, to buy a Printing press; in the third to buy a Bull dog, probably called John. I am very much excited at the idea of all three - particularly the press. I was also given a packet of sweets to bring home.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Nan,

    I love this painting of VWoolf. Finding your blog today must have been a bit of serendipity - I often check out what VW's diary entries. I am a VW fan along with Bloomsbury generally. The painters, including Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, are of great interest (mostly for their home decoration and lifestyle though).

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  2. Thanks so much for coming by, Kate. I just loved her joy on this particular birthday.

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  3. I've read a lot of VW, and I am fortified by this entry. To think that Virginia had ordinary, surprisingly happy days, among the many depressive moments-- makes my heart glad. I've long contemplated the waves. I have my theory.

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  4. It's unfortunate that VWoolf is seen to be a depressed person. Upon reading her diaries and letters, I realised quickly that she was a fun-loving, happy person much of the time.

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  5. This is deeeelightful! A day that goes perfectly right as it should on one's day.

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  6. Ah, such a birthday...I didn't know Virginia and I were five days apart. I can totally relate to the joy she feels in the crisp snowy day, in receiving a green purse when you were "good" and believed you'd receive nothing. Good husband!

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  7. I love VW and I bought this book for a friend for Christmas to introduce her to this wonderful author. I have just got out of my library 'Night and Day', and I can't wait to start on this one.

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  8. I've never read Woolf's things before. I just saw the movie "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" However, reading your post has made me curious. Thank you for the wonderful book report.

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  9. Jennifer and Kay, I'm so pleased that you followed the link and came here to read VW's entry on her birthday. That's just so great. Gosh, it has been a long time since I've read Night and Day. My copy is so old it cost $3.95!! Kay, I've never known what in the world that movie/play title had to do with this author. Maybe because they were academics?? Thank you for your nice words.

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  10. Unfortunately, I have not read any of the Virginia Woolf publishings, after reading your post, I am curious.
    What a lovely birthday letter, and the excerpts from her writings seem delightful, and full of imagination.
    I plan to read further.
    Thanks for the introduction !

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  11. Brit in TN, and I thank you for taking the time to follow the link. It makes me so happy! Some people don't find her easy to read but others love her to pieces. I'll be interested to hear from you what you think if you ever read her work. I'd start with this little book, or for fiction, Mrs Dalloway.

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Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.