The truth was she did not want intimacy; she wanted conversation. Intimacy has a way of breeding silence, and silence she abhorred. There must be talk, and it must be general, and it must be about everything. It must not go too deep, and it must not be too clever, for if it went too far in either of these directions somebody was sure to feel out of it, and to sit balancing his tea cup, saying nothing.
Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot and Vivienne Eliot, 1932.
“I can’t summon faith enough in my own judgment to criticise your poems to you; either to praise, blame, or discriminate. I’ve been lying in an arm chair in front of the fire with your book open, and such a radiance rises from the words that I can’t get near them.”
The truth was she did not want intimacy; she wanted conversation. Intimacy has a way of breeding silence, and silence she abhorred. There must be talk, and it must be general, and it must be about everything.
Virginia Woolf, from her essay“Portrait of a Londoner” from ‘The London Scene’
Gisèle Freund - Portrait of Virginia Woolf (1939).
Woolf, herself, disliked posing, and distrusted the fixity of conventional portraiture. Yet she sat to several painters and one sculptor and was frequently photographed. And as her fame grew, she developed ‘frock-consciousness’ – a term she invented – and took more care over self-presentation.
Julia Margaret Cameron :: One of more than twenty portraits of Cameron’s favorite niece and namesake, Julia Jackson,
Pre-Raphaelite model and mother of Virginia Woolf, 1867
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