Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Victorian parenting

Virginia Woolf on her father, Leslie Stephen: "Even today there may be parents who would doubt the wisdom of allowing a girl of fifteen the free run of a large and quite unexpurgated library. But my father allowed it. There were certain facts – very briefly, very shyly he referred to them. Yet 'Read what you like,' he said, and all his books, 'mangy and worthless,' as he called them, but certainly they were many and various, were to be had without asking. To read what one liked because one liked it, never to pretend to admire what one did not – that was his only lesson in the art of reading. To write in the fewest possible words, as clearly as possible, exactly what one meant – that was his only lesson in the art of writing."


Ed said...

pre:cice ly

what is meant

as : just what is

is adequate..

one needs/must re:visit

it s "substance" , too.

what you say here... much towards my 'liking' however, you use too many words..
cheers, Ed

Okeanos Rhoos 1971, Johns Hopkins -"a thesis"
now on my site...
as is Shrike

Mark Scroggins said...

"too many words" -- indeed, whatever she says here of her father's laconic cautions, Woolf never aspired to a Creeleyesque or Zukofskyan minimalism, did she? Always (tho she was incapable of an intentionally graceless sentence) there's still the ghost of Paterian or Ruskinian "rhetoric" in her prose. An aesthetic of plenitude?

Ed said...


Pater AND Ruskin kne-gleckted!!!

but not buy my 'moi'

I was jus at the Lilly Library (U of Ind) 9 weeks/3 days ago looking ove my "stuff' sent to Cid corman that is now archived there (in box 3 of 96 boxes,,

so, I go into a side rook (for a break) and IT IS the JOHN RUSKIN ROOM.. volumes and volumes..

sooo much 'stuff' collected as dreams are made of
I was "sunk"

thanks, Ed

Michael Peverett said...

I feel that the Woolf writing here is not the whole Woolf, she's adopting a particular subset for addressing her well-heeled but conservative social peers without panicking them - modernism or any other strangeness is suppressed in order to commend the small message of being a little more liberal with one's daughters. In the voice of her father, Woolf is more or less recycling a Sévigné / Duchesse de Guermantes aristocratic mannerism with a specific subtext:- that the art of life is simple, one does not have to be an intellectual to have the indefinable class and style that the Blochs of this world can never attain to.

viagra online said...

Stephen was one of the most prominent figures in the golden age of alpinism , I think that in the life we have to learn some things about it!!22dd