[Vwoolf] “The Complete Shorter Fiction”

Stuart N. Clarke stuart.n.clarke at btinternet.com
Mon Sep 17 05:05:14 EDT 2012

We definitely now need a scholarly edition of CSF.  No doubt, one will appear in the second round of “The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf”.

Looking at “The Prime Minister”, I noticed:

(1)   Susan Dick says the PM is “presumably” Lloyd George.  Definitely, I would have said.  He was a polarising character (unlike his successor Bonar Law: "It is fitting", [Asquith] is reputed to have said, "that we should have buried the Unknown Prime Minister by the side of the Unknown Soldier").

(2)   The loathing that H. Z. Prentice feels towards the PM perhaps comes from H. J. Massingham, Editor of the N&A: see Leonard Woolf’s “Downhill All the Way”, esp. pp. 94-5.

(3)   As the Coalition was falling apart there were a number of by-elections (Mrs Lewis is pleased that “the coalition candidate had been hopelessly beaten by labour”), notably at Pontypridd on c. 26 July 1922 (“Coalition Defeat ... Big Labour Poll” said “The Times”) and Gower in Glamorgan on 21 July (“Labour Majority Nearly Doubled” said “The Times”).

My favourite “pons asinorum” for foreigners (cf. red-hot pokers) is in “The String Quartet”: “Regent Street is up” (para. 2), and even the British need its historical significance explained.  I note that a French translation has “Regent Street est chic”!.  A Portuguese has “Regent Street fica um pouco mais acima”, which is hilariously clumsy and meaningless.  Another is less clumsy, but I suspect is wrong: “Regent Street se ergueu”.  However, a German translation (Fischer Taschenbuch) has got it right: “Regent Street aufgegraben”.


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