A piece of loose paper with fading and creases with handwritten text under the heading "Haworth: November, 1904."

“Haworth: November, 1904“ essay draft

Transcript below

Francesca Wade: So in 1904, she had just moved to Bloomsbury, which I guess was really the start of her modernity in all of its forms and setting up a new home with her siblings away from the Victorian kind of fustiness of Hyde Park Gate. And as soon as they arrived, they said to each other, “Everything’s going to be different,” and I think Woolf really tied up that move with her kind of origins of herself as a writer.

Brandon Taylor: And I’m also struck by the idea that it is an essay in which she is, I think, grappling with the tradition from which she thinks she descends, and she’s trying to work out like, what is a woman writer, and what is the future of women’s writing, and who am I as a woman writer, and what does that mean? And you know, I think that that funny thing of the validity or legitimacy of literary tourism also coming into play. 

Francesca Wade: What’s your view on that?

Brandon Taylor: Well, I mean, I think there is a cynical view of it, which is that, oh, it doesn’t really matter very much, but I think Virginia comes to this conclusion that, oh no, there is something there. There is something beautiful of seeing, all the way, all the things that have influenced a writer,  that have gone into influencing a writer, does unlock some magical dimension to a writer’s work, or it can in a way. And I think that’s where I end up as well. There is something quite beautiful about walking the steps that one of your favorite writers walked and seeing, you know, the shapes their minds have traced. There’s something kind of magical.

Francesca Wade: And like the forces that have kind of made them who they are. Woolf writes, I think, a lot about writers’ houses and has a whole sort of series of essays on them, and one that always stands out to me is the one about the Carlisles, whose house you can visit in London, and it is sort of amazing going there and seeing the the conditions under which Jane Carlisle sort of managed this household. It’s very kind of austere and you can see the sort of pulley that they used to get milk upstairs. 

Brandon Taylor: Yeah, I think that especially for Woolf, the material reality of a writer’s life is part and parcel with their subject and with their style, their voice. It all comes from this material reality, and as you say, that need for a room of one’s own and the house in which that room lives. 

Francesca Wade: Woolf is now the site of literary tourism herself because you can go to see Monk’s House, which she decorated. Every time she published a new book and got new royalties, she would build a new bathroom extension or something, and it’s a really moving place to go. 

End of Transcript

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