[Vwoolf] Celebrating the birthday of a Woolf kindred spirit
lauriereiche at gmail.com
Wed Feb 5 15:27:44 EST 2020
A moment of startling Jungian synchronicity in that just this morning I was re-reading Terrence Des Pres’s essay, “Goodness Incarnate - A Review of Philip Hallie’s Lest Blood Be Shed,” about finding faith and worth in humanity despite the fact that we are inundated (assaulted?!) every day from everywhere around the world with humanity’s horrors, and how do we not lose faith in ourselves, how do we save ourselves “from the coercion of despair.” It is a shortish essay about the French village/community of Chambon which Des Pres writes was “a wonderful example of goodness in action” and is worth reading especially in light of the conversation about Bonhoeffer and the Woolf’s. In reviewing Hallie, Des Pres ends with this: “ Goodness. When was the last time anyone used that word in earnest, without irony, as anything more than a doubtful cliche? Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed is one of the rarest books, the kind that can change the way we live.” — In hopes that that is true I’m ordering the book now!!! ~ Cheers 🦋 PS: The essay is in Terrence Des Pres’s book, Writing Into The World - Essays 1973 -1987
> On Feb 5, 2020, at 10:26 AM, Steve Posin via Vwoolf <vwoolf at lists.osu.edu> wrote:
> Well stated Diane
> Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/?.src=iOS>
> On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 8:44 AM, Diane Reynolds <direynolds1502 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Steve, true, true. I want to believe Leonard and Virginia—and they were people of character-- would have acted with equal dignity, but as you say, how can we know? I have been so impressed, however, recently re-reading VW’s late essays, such as “The Leaning Tower,” as well as Between the Acts in the context of Jane Harrison’s work on early Greek theology, particularly Themis. Harrison explores the matrilineal belief that we humans are not more than shards or splinters of a greater reality that includes plants and animals as equals—what could be more relevant to our climate crisis? Anyway, I was recently getting great joy out of the ecstatic moment when the villagers in the Between the Acts pageant lose themselves in community as they enact dancing and whirling around the maypole. At the end of his life, just as VW did, DB staked much of his all on local community (not mass totalitarianism!)—the importance, as he put it, of the "center of the village"—as the way to build a better future. I wonder if they would have liked each other—Bonhoeffer was a patriarchal German male, but among his closest friendships were those with intelligent, sensitive women—and he was very socially polished, which I think VW would have appreciated. I think they would have picked up on each other’s gender ambiguities. It’s a pity that neither of them lived to see the new world after the war or participate in it. When I think of how Hitler tried to appropriate Volk community—which VW was well aware of—I feel a deep appreciation towards her for pushing back and trying to reappropriate that traditional form of culture for the side of decency.
>> On Feb 5, 2020, at 11:30 AM, Steve Posin <steve_posin at yahoo.com <mailto:steve_posin at yahoo.com>> wrote:
>> It is indeed a stretch to equate VW and Leonard w Bonhoeffer
>> Neither Woolf nor Leonard were tested under a prevailing dictatorship as was Bonhoeffer. We have no idea how they might have acted. We know w what courage and dignity Bonhoeffer did
>> Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/?.src=iOS>
>> On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 6:35 PM, Diane Reynolds via Vwoolf <vwoolf at lists.osu.edu <mailto:vwoolf at lists.osu.edu>> wrote:
>> Today is the birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who would be a 114 if still alive. He was a theologian who opposed Hitler and was executed in the last days of the war—and had quite a bit in common with Virginia (and Leonard) Woolf. Bonhoeffer, like them, was deeply distressed by the European politics of the 1930s. He, like Woolf, was a pacifist who put an inclusive and humane vision of community ahead of violence and nationalism. He, like Woolf, was same sex attracted. If she wrote about her sexuality covertly in her novels, he theologized about his covertly. Both came from similar large “middle class” (in the US we would say wealthy) and very well connected families, with entree to the highest echelons of society. Both were willing to sacrifice their own convenience to be true to what they believed in. So happy birthday Dietrich and a belated happy birthday to Virginia, both figures I dearly love for the vision that animated them.
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