[Vwoolf] Leslie Stephen

Catherine Hollis hollisc at calmail.berkeley.edu
Wed Sep 12 14:35:47 EDT 2012

Dear Woolfians,

And let's not forget Leslie Stephen's hilarious mountaineering essays,
collected in "The Playground of Europe." Some of my favorite caustic
commentary from him include his thoughts on having to get up early:
"Christian morality appears to me to become binding every morning at
breakfast-time, that is, about 9:30 a.m." And even Mr. Ramsay shows some
shred of good humor when asked about his boots.

Leslie Stephen was no doubt a difficult and complex man, and it's no
wonder that Virginia Woolf identifies "ambivalence" as her primary
emotional experience of her father. Ambivalence is made up of both love
and hate, of rich contradiction rather than one dimensional certainty. So
for every time we wince at the "tyrant father" of 22 Hyde Park Gate, we
might also keep in mind (as Christine Froula reminds us) the father who
opened his library to his youngest daughter.


Catherine W. Hollis, PhD
("Leslie Stephen as Mountaineer," Cecil Woolf, 2010)
Instructor, Fall Program for Freshmen
U.C. Berkeley Extension
Berkeley, CA 94720

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