WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941. Autograph Letter, 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo

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Lot 101
WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941.
Autograph Letter, 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo

Sold for US$ 8,750 inc. premium
WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941.
Autograph Letter, 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo (conjoined leaves), Wells, Sunday, [August 9, 1908], to CLIVE BELL, on blue paper.
Provenance: Sotheby's, Dec 15, 1980, lot 393.

ANOTHER LONG AND EARLY LETTER, ABOUT THE POEMS OF LYTTON STRACHEY AND CONTINUING THE FLIRTATION WITH CLIVE BELL. Lytton Strachey was another founding member of the Bloomsbury group and in less than a year from the date of this letter would be very briefly engaged to marry Virginia Woolf [Stephen at the time]. Here, Woolf says that reading Strachey's poems is a "pretty occupation for a virgin on the Sabbath" and writes of his verse in terms that seem to encompass the man as well: "Yes, they are exquisite, & a little anthology I have here of minor Victorian verse shows none better. But (you will expect that but & relish it), there is something of ingenuity that prevents me from approving as warmly as I should; do you know what I mean when I talk of his verbal felicities, which somehow evade, when a fine poet, I think, would have committed himself? 'Enormous mouth', 'unimaginable repose', 'mysterious ease' 'incomparably dim'; when I come before these, I hesitate; I roll them upon my tongue; I do not feel that I am breasting fresh streams. But then I am a contemporary, a jealous contemporary...."
Woolf continues in ungracious complaint about her landlady's children, moving from that to pity for Vanessa with her infant Julian, and then, "A page of Melymbrosia was strangled in the birth this morning." Melymbrosia being the one-time title for her first novel The Voyage Out. Woolf concludes with her rather confused insertion of herself into her sister's marriage, ordering Clive to "Kiss my yellow honey bee" (meaning Vanessa) and then pining for a kiss from him herself. She wonders, "I am really shy of expressing my affection for you. Why? Do you know women?"
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