Vita & Virginia (2018)

Vita & Virginia
Director: Chanya Button
Writer: Eileen Atkins, Chanya Button
Based on: Vita Sackville-West‘s and Virginia Woolf‘s letters
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabella Rossellini, Rupert Penry-Jones, Peter Ferdinando, Emerald Fennell, Gethin Anthony, Rory Fleck Byrne, Karla Crome
Part of: Toronto International Film Festival
Seen on: 11.9.2018

Vita (Gemma Arterton) and Virginia (Elizabeth Debicki) move in similar social circles, but have yet to meet personally. Vita has admired Virginia from afar and she is determined to become friends with her. Virginia is taken aback by Vita’s adamant attempts at first, but she has to admit that she is also drawn to Vita. It doesn’t take long and they become friends, then lovers, inspiring each other in their writing. Despite their progressive surroundings, not everybody can deal equally well with their relationship though.

With Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf being who they were and having led the lives they led, it is hard to imagine a film about them that wouldn’t be at least interesting. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the film would have been well-made. In this case, luckily, the film is not only interesting, it is very well-made indeed.

Film poster showing Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki leaning against each other.
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A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf)

A Room of One’s Own is an essay by Virginia Woolf.
Finished on 3.4.2016
[You can read it here.]

Virginia Woolf was asked to speak on women and writing at two universities and later published her lectures in an extended essay form – A Room of One’s Own. In this, she tackles several problems that women in general and particularly female writers have to face and why there are so few of them. Above all, Woolf states, women need a room to write – both literally and figuratively speaking.

A Room of One’s Own is a beautifully written, smart essay and, I think, essential reading for everyone who wants to understand the absence of female writers, or actually any unprivileged writers. And while I would like to say that it is outdated, it’s much too accurate even for today’s circumstances.

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Orlando: A Biography (Virginia Woolf)


Orlando is one of the novels by Virginia Woolf.

Orlando is a mock-biography Virginia Woolf wrote for and about her friend Vita Sackville-West.
Orlando starts out as a young nobleman in 16th century England. He decides not to grow old and so the novel goes on to chronicle his life until the “present day”, the early 20th century. During this time, Orlando falls in love, becomes an ambassador and changes his sex.

Orlando is a hard read and takes about forever. And, though I liked it, I kept asking myself: Is it really worth it to work so hard for this book?

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Teaser Tuesday

Since Answering Questions Asked Through Google pretty much died, I thought I’d give Tuesday a new regular feature. And lo, behold I stumbled upon Teaser Tuesday here and I really liked the idea.

Here’s what it’s about:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Basically, open the book you’re currently reading and share a couple of sentences from that page on your blog.   Avoid spoilers of course.

So, each week you’ll be getting two sentences from one of the books I’m reading at that time.

Here we go:

Orlando is in fact the first Woolf novel in which a meditation on the configurations of the family as it is structured around the stereotypical heterosexual couple does not in some sonse dominate the plot. Instead, this parodic but ultimately serious ‘biography’ takes as its starting point a character who maybe said to have evolved as much from Lily Briscoe, the determinedly single woman artist of To the Lighthouse, as from Vita Sackville-West.

From the introduction to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando by Sandra M. Gilbert

[Btw, L., I haven’t gotten very far yet with Orlando, as you can see, but I’m working on it.]

Orlando (1992)

Orlando is a movie by Sally Potter based on Virginia Woolf‘s book of the same name, starring Tilda Swinton, Quentin Crisp and Billy Zane.

Orlando (Virginia Woolf) is a young man during the reign of Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp). When he vows never to grow old, he doesn’t. The movie follows his life and affairs, first with the Queen, then with the Russian Princess Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey). After Sasha returns to Russia, Orlando leads his life pretty love-less and soon ennui sets in. Then one night, he falls asleep and can not be woken for quite a period of time. Finally he wakes up and finds himself metamorphosed into a woman’s body. And that’s when his trouble really starts.

I admit that I have never read anything by Virginia Woolf, so I can’t compare the movie and the book (yet, at least). But I really enjoyed the movie. It was funny, interesting and beautifully shot. And it has really awesome costumes and a great set design.

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