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IlanaSimons
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : Uploading photos and VW locations

Thanks for the informative links, Choisya. I'm so glad you're joining this discussion.



Ilana
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pics



IlanaSimons wrote:
any way to post a picture for us?





Only editors (moderators) can post pictures, not sure why, it's a pity. It was possible on BNU.

ziki
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to our moderator



IlanaSimons wrote:smileyembarrassed:I meant "link to a photo," b/c it's true--we don't have a way to post photos here.
If you don't have a page, we'll have to imagine your hammock through word pictures. Which we can.




Ilana, speak to Bill T. He can post pictures so I wonder why participants can't . Matter of bandwith?
What I do not like about this new book clubs is how authoratively this forum is handled. We (participants) are not told reasons for changes or limitations we are just faced with whatever whim comes up. And it's very upsetting at times.

ziki
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : Uploading photos and VW locations



Choisya wrote: Ziki and I did a marathon together on Mrs Dalloway in BNU so it should be fun doing this one here:smileyhappy:




'Twas Night and Day, though.

ziki
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : Uploading photos and VW locations



Choisya wrote:
(Ziki - Talland House would fit in well with that coastal walk you want to do.:smileyhappy:




Oh indeed, not a bad place to be stuck at, LOL.

ziki
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Re: Welcome from your moderator



KristyR wrote:... this my first novel by Virginia Woolf.




Good luck!

ziki :smileyhappy:
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Choisya
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Re: to our moderator

[ Edited ]
I had thought it might be bandwidth too Ziki, which is why I suggested an uploading facility only in the main Community Room, which would limit it.

There have been quite a lot of changes recently, which can be confusing. It reminds me of the large stores who keep moving things around so that customers are directed to things they may not have looked at before. A good sales technique I suppose.




ziki wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:smileyembarrassed:I meant "link to a photo," b/c it's true--we don't have a way to post photos here.
If you don't have a page, we'll have to imagine your hammock through word pictures. Which we can.




Ilana, speak to Bill T. He can post pictures so I wonder why participants can't . Matter of bandwith?
What I do not like about this new book clubs is how authoratively this forum is handled. We (participants) are not told reasons for changes or limitations we are just faced with whatever whim comes up. And it's very upsetting at times.

ziki

Message Edited by Choisya on 04-01-200703:22 AM

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SumayyaA
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

I am looking forward to joining this conversation this month - this will also be my first novel by Virginia Woolf. I am hoping I can keep up with the reading and conversation this time. (Having 3 young children and commuting 80 miles a day to and from work full-time has me lagging behind a bit).
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IlanaSimons
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Wow! That is quite a load. What's work?
Virginia didn't have kids because doctors said it would unsettle her moods (she had what we'd diagnose as bipolar disorder today). Lots of fans since then have vehemently disagreed, arguing kids would have given her life a rounder meaning, a balance.
(I was at two baby showers today.)
What do you say about having kids: does it add to the sanity or the insanity quotient of your life?



SumayyaA wrote:
I am looking forward to joining this conversation this month - this will also be my first novel by Virginia Woolf. I am hoping I can keep up with the reading and conversation this time. (Having 3 young children and commuting 80 miles a day to and from work full-time has me lagging behind a bit).





Ilana
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SumayyaA
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

I currently work in the school where two of my children attend (in metro-Atlanta - definitely not the town I plan on settling down in, simply a transient place in my life as well as a transient job).

The idea that children would unsettle V. Woolf because of her 'illness' seems to really follow in the prevalent sexist thought of the day. I agree that children may have brought more balance in her life and may have deterred her from taking her own life. It is my understanding that this way of 'treating' her mental illness (not having children) also came from her husband, Leonard?

As for myself - they have brought more sanity into my life than contributed to the insanity quotient. The contribution to the insanity quotient I have to say is since having them in my life I now have this total awareness of the passing of time. It has taken away a certain carefreeness that I had before. I cannot get away from the tick-tocking of time, no matter how I try. On another note, I have learned more about human psychology and sociology from observing my children than a textbook could ever teach.

I have found that building background knowledge on the biography of the author and history of the time period is just as important if not essential to the understanding of the classic novel.

"As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." (Woolf)
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SumayyaA
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

The more I think about it - I don't know that having children would have balanced Virginia's life. The way she writes about childbirth...

"Were they not all of them weak women? Wearing crinolines the better to conceal the fact; the great fact; the only fact; but, nevertheless, the deplorable fact; which every modest woman did her best to deny until denial was impossible; the fact that she was about to bear a child? To bear fifteen or twenty children indeed, so that most of a modest woman’s life was spent, after all, in denying what, on one day at least of every year, was made obvious."

It seems as if she rejects the idea of women having children as part of her rejection of the sexist, male dominated society. Perhaps she viewed childbearing to be a submissive act - an assenting to the male's power over the female.

"The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself."

"Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size."

Any thoughts?
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Choisya
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : VW and childbirth

Looked at through the eyes of a feminist in Victorian/Edwardian times, it was perhaps a sensible decision considering that a very high proportion of women died in childbirth and an even higher proportion of children died before their first birthdays:smileysad:. And speaking as the mother of four children who suffered from severe depression throughout their young lives, I think it is probably best not to risk inflicting this illness upon them as it can have a bad effect on their own psyches:smileysad:.

http://www.geocities.com/victorianmedicine/healthtrends.html



SumayyaA wrote:
The more I think about it - I don't know that having children would have balanced Virginia's life. The way she writes about childbirth...

"Were they not all of them weak women? Wearing crinolines the better to conceal the fact; the great fact; the only fact; but, nevertheless, the deplorable fact; which every modest woman did her best to deny until denial was impossible; the fact that she was about to bear a child? To bear fifteen or twenty children indeed, so that most of a modest woman’s life was spent, after all, in denying what, on one day at least of every year, was made obvious."

It seems as if she rejects the idea of women having children as part of her rejection of the sexist, male dominated society. Perhaps she viewed childbearing to be a submissive act - an assenting to the male's power over the female.

"The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself."

"Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size."

Any thoughts?


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IlanaSimons
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Great comments here and below, SumayyaA.
I also think Virignia was torn. She enjoyed playing with her sister Vanessa's kids. She once told Vanessa that Vanessa got blessed with sensual pleasures--like kids, hot sexual affairs, and her own artistic passion of painting--while Virignia was stuck with a lonelier drive towards literary importance. In some ways, she wished she could have had the comfort of kids laughing in the house.

But you're also right that Woolf utterly resisted stereotypical female roles.
She didn't want to baby or mother anyone.

You're also right on about Leonard--he's often blamed for arguing that Virginia would be healthier if she didn't have kids, tho it was also a doctor's suggestion.




SumayyaA wrote:
The more I think about it - I don't know that having children would have balanced Virginia's life. The way she writes about childbirth...

"Were they not all of them weak women? Wearing crinolines the better to conceal the fact; the great fact; the only fact; but, nevertheless, the deplorable fact; which every modest woman did her best to deny until denial was impossible; the fact that she was about to bear a child? To bear fifteen or twenty children indeed, so that most of a modest woman’s life was spent, after all, in denying what, on one day at least of every year, was made obvious."

It seems as if she rejects the idea of women having children as part of her rejection of the sexist, male dominated society. Perhaps she viewed childbearing to be a submissive act - an assenting to the male's power over the female.

"The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself."

"Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size."

Any thoughts?





Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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JesseBC
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

I'm intrigued by the (mostly feminist) theories that some of these tragic 20th century female writers (Woolf, Plath, Teasdale, etc.) weren't really mentally ill (or at least not to the extent they're regarded as such), but were labelled with mental problems as a way of internalizing and essentially blaming them for the restricted nature of their lives that was making them miserable in the first place.

The implication is usually that women are still overdiagnosed as depressed, bipolar, etc., as a way of turning the gendered restrictions of their lives into something that's "all in your head" -- sexism isn't the problem; it's all biochemical...here, have a pill so you won't be tempted to question male privilege.

Any thoughts on those theories?

I can't imagine suggesting that the solution to misery would be having a baby (although, I personally know several women who have done just that -- it never seems to end well).






IlanaSimons wrote:
Wow! That is quite a load. What's work?
Virginia didn't have kids because doctors said it would unsettle her moods (she had what we'd diagnose as bipolar disorder today). Lots of fans since then have vehemently disagreed, arguing kids would have given her life a rounder meaning, a balance.
(I was at two baby showers today.)
What do you say about having kids: does it add to the sanity or the insanity quotient of your life?



SumayyaA wrote:
I am looking forward to joining this conversation this month - this will also be my first novel by Virginia Woolf. I am hoping I can keep up with the reading and conversation this time. (Having 3 young children and commuting 80 miles a day to and from work full-time has me lagging behind a bit).





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Choisya
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : Women and Mental illness - Hysteria

[ Edited ]
I agree there has been over diagnosis JesseBC and this extract from Wikipedia on the word 'hysteria' is very significant, especially the reference to Hippocrates' diagnosis (and the treatment of sexual dissatisfaction)!:-

'The term originates with the Greek medical term, hysterikos. This referred to a medical condition, thought to be particular to women, caused by disturbances of the uterus, hystera in Greek. The term hysteria was coined by Hippocrates, who thought that the cause of hysteria was due to the uterus wandering around the body in search of children. The same general definition, or under the name female hysteria, came into widespread use in the middle and late 19th century to describe what is today generally considered to be sexual dissatisfaction.[2] Typical "treatment" was massage of the patient's genitalia by the physician and later vibrators or water sprays to cause orgasm.[2] By the early 1900s, the practice and usage of the term had fallen from use until it was again popularized when the writings of Sigmund Freud became known and influential in Britain and the USA in the 1920s. The Freudian psychoanalytic school of psychology uses its own, somewhat controversial, ways to treat hysteria.'

However, if Woolf and Plath weren't 'ill', how do we account for their suicides? Do we just say that they were extremely unhappy?






JesseBC wrote:
I'm intrigued by the (mostly feminist) theories that some of these tragic 20th century female writers (Woolf, Plath, Teasdale, etc.) weren't really mentally ill (or at least not to the extent they're regarded as such), but were labelled with mental problems as a way of internalizing and essentially blaming them for the restricted nature of their lives that was making them miserable in the first place.

The implication is usually that women are still overdiagnosed as depressed, bipolar, etc., as a way of turning the gendered restrictions of their lives into something that's "all in your head" -- sexism isn't the problem; it's all biochemical...here, have a pill so you won't be tempted to question male privilege.

Any thoughts on those theories?

I can't imagine suggesting that the solution to misery would be having a baby (although, I personally know several women who have done just that -- it never seems to end well).






IlanaSimons wrote:
Wow! That is quite a load. What's work?
Virginia didn't have kids because doctors said it would unsettle her moods (she had what we'd diagnose as bipolar disorder today). Lots of fans since then have vehemently disagreed, arguing kids would have given her life a rounder meaning, a balance.
(I was at two baby showers today.)
What do you say about having kids: does it add to the sanity or the insanity quotient of your life?



SumayyaA wrote:
I am looking forward to joining this conversation this month - this will also be my first novel by Virginia Woolf. I am hoping I can keep up with the reading and conversation this time. (Having 3 young children and commuting 80 miles a day to and from work full-time has me lagging behind a bit).







Message Edited by Choisya on 04-03-200705:20 AM

Message Edited by Choisya on 04-03-200705:20 AM

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piihonua
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : VW and childbirth

I'm not sure where to post this message as it straddles the " The Windows" thread as well as this one but I wanted to mention the sense of entrapment,isolation,or claustrophobia as being a possible theme/themes in this novel.
Choisya's comment on severe depression seems to be inviting me to reply on this thread though. I think she's found an underlying as well as important message from Virginia which keeps surfacing in at least every other paragraph in "The Windows".
The novel opens in the drawing room with a scene of presumed "domestic bliss" only to have the high hopes of a six-year-old dashed by the gloating remark of his interfering father whom he(James) would have murdered with an axe if it were within reach.
How much darker can this scene get?How is Ramsay going to redeem himself after such an introduction? He's clearly not the author's hero. Mrs. Ramsay interjects with an"...I expect it will be fine...". I imagine it as a repeated reassurance of Virginia's mother,but I think it's packed with a pretty forceful punch albeit comforting comment she would make throughout her childhood and remained indelibly etched in her memory, long after the death of her mother.

I guess I'll take my comments on the theme to "The Windows" thread where it belongs.
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : Women and Mental illness - Hysteria



Choisya wrote:

However, if Woolf and Plath weren't 'ill', how do we account for their suicides? Do we just say that they were extremely unhappy?





Good post, Choisya. There certainly is a history of over-diagnosing women as "hysterics" ...and/but V. Woolf really did suffer from what we'd diagnose as bipolar disorder today. She went through waves of mania, with heightened writing, and waves of depression, marked by hallucinations, sleeplessness, and inability to eat. She wrote some great letters to her friends in which she said that her bouts of sickness were sources of new/deeper thinking. She claimed her mood disorder fuelled her writing.



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Re: Welcome from your moderator : VW and childbirth

[ Edited ]

piihonua wrote:
He's clearly not the author's hero. Mrs. Ramsay interjects with an"...I expect it will be fine...". I imagine it as a repeated reassurance of Virginia's mother,but I think it's packed with a pretty forceful punch albeit comforting comment she would make throughout her childhood and remained indelibly etched in her memory, long after the death of her mother.



neat observation. "I expect it will be fine" is an ominous line. Mom wants so badly to please others, to soothe their pain. But the pain resurfaces.

You've also got me thinking of how, in Mrs. Dalloway, the doctor tells shellshocked Septimus that, with just a little milk and rest, he'll be fine, but he isn't.

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 04-04-200703:25 PM




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Re: Welcome from your moderator

What I see Woolf criticizing here is not so much childbirth as the restrictive standards of "modesty" placed on women and the expectation that having children should be a woman's highest calling in the world, which she will find the ultimate fulfillment of her existence.

It's dismaying, even given the availability of effective brth control and abortion as well as the increased educational and vocational opportunities for women, that the latter has changed so little.

It's still considered unusual (if not unnatural, even immoral) for a woman to not want children or to find the idea of motherhood repulsive.





SumayyaA wrote:
The more I think about it - I don't know that having children would have balanced Virginia's life. The way she writes about childbirth...

"Were they not all of them weak women? Wearing crinolines the better to conceal the fact; the great fact; the only fact; but, nevertheless, the deplorable fact; which every modest woman did her best to deny until denial was impossible; the fact that she was about to bear a child? To bear fifteen or twenty children indeed, so that most of a modest woman’s life was spent, after all, in denying what, on one day at least of every year, was made obvious."

It seems as if she rejects the idea of women having children as part of her rejection of the sexist, male dominated society. Perhaps she viewed childbearing to be a submissive act - an assenting to the male's power over the female.

"The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself."

"Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size."

Any thoughts?


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JesseBC
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Re: Welcome from your moderator : VW and childbirth

But Woolf was post-Victorian and post-Edwardian. To the Lighthouse was published in 1927.

I suppose that's splitting hairs since she was born at the end of the Victorian period and grew up in the Edwardian period and so would have been influenced by both.

But I think placing her in the Victorian/Edwardian category risks overlooking the vast difference in her style and shoving her into some corner of ancient history from which we can feel safely removed.

When, really, what Woolf was facing as a woman and a lesbian isn't THAT different from the kinds of things we're still dealing with today.

Besides, while I think it's the height of self-delusion for an unhappy woman to think having a baby will make her happy and that there's an element of "it's all in your head, dear" in the extent to which unhappy women are being medicated today, what you're saying suggests that depressed women make inferior mothers and I think that's too extreme as well.






Choisya wrote:
Looked at through the eyes of a feminist in Victorian/Edwardian times, it was perhaps a sensible decision considering that a very high proportion of women died in childbirth and an even higher proportion of children died before their first birthdays:smileysad:. And speaking as the mother of four children who suffered from severe depression throughout their young lives, I think it is probably best not to risk inflicting this illness upon them as it can have a bad effect on their own psyches:smileysad:.

http://www.geocities.com/victorianmedicine/healthtrends.html



SumayyaA wrote:
The more I think about it - I don't know that having children would have balanced Virginia's life. The way she writes about childbirth...

"Were they not all of them weak women? Wearing crinolines the better to conceal the fact; the great fact; the only fact; but, nevertheless, the deplorable fact; which every modest woman did her best to deny until denial was impossible; the fact that she was about to bear a child? To bear fifteen or twenty children indeed, so that most of a modest woman’s life was spent, after all, in denying what, on one day at least of every year, was made obvious."

It seems as if she rejects the idea of women having children as part of her rejection of the sexist, male dominated society. Perhaps she viewed childbearing to be a submissive act - an assenting to the male's power over the female.

"The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself."

"Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size."

Any thoughts?





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