Woolf in the Real World, June 5-8, 2003

Conference Highlights and Information

Woolf in the Real World conference logo

Smith College thanks everyone who participated!

Call for PapersSchedule

A Room of One's Own book coverVirginia Woolfletter from Virginia WoolfThe Waste Land T.S. Elliot cover


  • Woolf in the World: A Pen and a Press of Her Own - A large exhibition of Woolf manuscripts, letters, first editions; Bloomsbury Group materials; Hogarth Press books; Woolf family photo album - Neilson Library; curated by Karen V. Kukil, associate curator of rare books, Smith College (through August 30).
  • Vanessa Bell and Bloomsbury - This exhibit gathers a number of works of art associated with the Bloomsbury group. These include the writing desk once used by Woolf and several of the museum's paintings by Vanessa Bell, including one of Virginia Woolf; the exhibition also includes ceramics by Quentin Bell and works on paper by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant - in Smith's beautiful, newly renovated Museum of Art (closing June 15).
  • Virginia Woolf bustVirginia Woolf: A Botanical Perspective: - contemporary and historical photos by several photographers and multimedia presentation by Elisa Kay Sparks (Clemson University) of gardens of Woolf, friends and family, including Monk's House, Sissinghurst, Charleston Farmhouse and others; related rare books - at the Church Gallery in the Lyman Conservatory. Through September 30, 2003.
  • "The Politics of Mind": Writing on Woolf, Teaching Woolf - material from the Carolyn Heilbrun Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, and the papers of various Smith College faculty members in the Smith College Archives.
  •  Her Novels Make Mine Possible: Virginia Woolf's Influence on Sylvia Plath - Mortimer Rare Book Room
  • A Story of Their Own: Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Gloria Steinem - Mortimer Rare Book Room, Neilson Library
    • Associated exhibition: the Northampton Center for the Arts, just outside the gates of Smith, will feature a one-woman art exhibit by Suzanne Bellamy, conference Artist-in-Residence, inspired by Woolf (opening June 1st).
    • The Amherst College Archives and Special Collection will open on Sunday, June 8th from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Jerome Liebling's photographs for the award winning "The Dickinson's of Amherst" will be on display as well as Dickinson and Louise Bogan manuscripts. The book won the 2002 Umhoefer Prize for Achievement in the Humanities from the Arts and Humanities Foundation. All Woolf Conference participants are welcome. 

Plenary Speakers

Bios and topics of plenary speakers

  • Carol T. Christ, President, and Jill Ker Conway, President Emerita, Smith College
  • Hermione Lee, Gretchen Gerzina, Lyndall Gordon, Frances Spalding
  • Carolyn Heilbrun interview

Featured Panelists

  • David Bradshaw, Julia Briggs, Stuart Clarke, Emily Dalgarno, Beth Rigel Daugherty, Holly Henry, Maggie Humm, Mark Hussey and Vara Neverow

Film Series

  • The Cinema: Woolf in the Reel World
    • Woolf-related films introduced by scholars, June 4, 5, 6 and June 8 - Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours with sneak preview of DVD, Orlando and Carrington.

book cover On Being Ill by Virginia WoolfBooks, books, books and art

  • Book and art fair - sale of books by presenters; collector's books by and about Woolf; sale of contemporary art inspired by Woolf
  • Book arts demonstrations by bookbinders and printers
  • Auction of rare/unusual Woolfiana (courtesy Krystyna Colburn)
  • On Being Ill, with an introduction by Hermione Lee, published by Paris Press in 2002; this replication of the 1930 Hogarth Press edition (including Vanessa Bell's cover art) is associated with the conference. Hermione Lee will sign copies of "On Being Ill" on Saturday, June 7 at the evening reception at the Lyman Plant House.

Presentations, performances, poetry and music

  • Concurrent panels and special subject panels
  • World premier Lytton and Virginia, a staged reading of Woolf-Strachey correspondence
  • A Room of One's Own performed by Clare Dalton

Field Trips

Optional site visits are planned to:

  • The Mount, the home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, Massachusetts, Thursday June 5, 9 am-3 pm
  • Dickinson Homestead, home of Emily Dickinson in nearby Amherst, Sunday, June 8, 4 pm-7 pm. Information about this trip may be found here.

Exhibitions will be held in the following sites:

Mortimer Rare Book RoomSophia Smith CollectionSmith College Archives
Smith College Museum of Art | Smith Botanic Garden

bulb show at Botanic GardensVirginia Woolf paintingVirginia Woolf bustNeilson Library

Virginia Woolf in Place and Time: May 16th and May 23rd for Smith alumnae--Alumnae College sessions

Woolf Watch at Smith College: Events leading to conference

News articles


Smith Libraries Newsletter (pdf file - pages 4, 6 & 8)

Contact Information

Conference Co-Chairs: Karen V. Kukil and Stephanie Cooper Schoen

Conference email: woolf@smith.edu

Write: Virginia Woolf Conference, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 USA

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