Lunchtime Lecture: Virginia Woolf: A Woman of Fashion?

Past event archive
4 September 2014, 13:15

Ondaatje Wing Theatre


  • Lecture

Virginia Woolf, by Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky), 27 November 1934 - NPG  - © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2013

Virginia Woolf
by Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky)
27 November 1934
NPG P170

My love of clothes interests me profoundly: only it is not love; and what it is I must discover.’  (Diary vol.3)

Dr. Claire Nicholson investigates Virginia Woolf’s ambivalent relationship with clothes and fashion. Virginia Woolf made extensive use of clothing imagery in her fiction to express character and to evoke modernist tensions of appearance and reality, but her own relationship to dress is usually described as one of awkwardness, anxiety and even despair. Some of her contemporaries thought her unkempt and slovenly; her diary records how she often resorted to pinning together her underwear with a brooch. However, this lecture will explore how Woolf can be seen as a sophisticated observer of fashion, familiar with the pleasures of sartorial elegance and sometimes happy to indulge in them.

Claire Nicholson is a member of the Executive Council of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain and a Lecturer in English Literature at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. She has lectured on Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group in a wide range of contexts including the London College of Fashion, the British Library and BBC Wales. Her doctorate was awarded last year for a thesis entitled ‘In Woolf’s Clothing’, and she has also published articles on various aspects of Woolf’s connections with clothing and fashion. Her most recent publication is volume 1 of The Women Aesthetes, a collection of essays and poetry by nineteenth century women, which she co-edited with Professor Mary Joannou.

Seats for our lunchtime lectures are allocated on a first come, first served basis and are subject to availability.

Doors open at 12.30pm

The Virginia Woolf: Art Life and Vision Adult Learning Programme is made possible in loving memory of Rosemary Evison.