Letters from the dorm: Exploring the world of Virginia Woolf

Letters from the dorm: Exploring the world of Virginia Woolf

One of the subjects I am studying in my English literature course this semester is called "Virginia Woolf and the Politics of Reading" - my first module is wholly focused on one writer's work.

Woolf is one of the most iconic writers of the 20th century, and her writing deals with issues, such as class, gender, race, and more - subjects that are still relevant today.

Since Woolf also studied at King's - though a long time ago, from 1897 to 1902 - my classmates and I all feel a special connection with her. Moreover, Woolf lived in the Bloomsbury area of London - the same area where I am living now.

It was in Bloomsbury that she befriended many prominent artists and writers, and this circle of intellectuals - including Woolf - came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. Sometimes I fancy that the discussions my friends and I have in Bloomsbury are as inspiring as the ones Woolf and her friends had!

When I found out that the National Portrait Gallery in London was presenting an exhibition on her, I had to go. As I've mentioned, one of the things I love most about studying in London is that there are so many world-class museums and galleries nearby - and admission is usually free. I had to pay £5.40 (HK$67) for this show, but it was worth it.

On display were Woolf's handwritten manuscripts, from her diary entries about the first world war to her letters to friends and family. There were also private photographs from her childhood, and portraits of her by her sister, the artist Vanessa Bell, as well as other artists such as American Man Ray.

After visiting the exhibition, and reading Woolf's first two novels over the summer in preparation for the module, I am very excited to be studying her work. If you want to explore Woolf's writing, pick up a copy of her most famous novel, Mrs Dalloway, and enjoy!

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Exploring Virginia Woolf


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