Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) is one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novelsMrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Orlando, and the essay,A Room of One’s Own. Quentin Bell (1910–96) was an English art historian and author and the nephew of Virginia Woolf.Claudia Olk is chair of English and comparative literature at Freie Universitat Berlin.
In the summer of 1923, Virginia Woolf’s nephews, Quentin and Julian Bell, founded a family newspaper,The Charleston Bulletin. Quentin decided to ask his aunt Virginia for a contribution: “It seemed stupid to have a real author so close at hand and not have her contribute.” But instead of an occasional contribution, Woolf joined forces with Quentin, and from 1923 until 1927, they created booklets of stories and drawings that were announced within the household as Supplements. Written or dictated by Woolf and illustrated by Quentin, these Supplements present a unique collaboration between the novelist during her most prolific years and the child-painter. In Virginia Woolf, Quentin Bell found not only a professional author and an experienced journalist, but, above all, a close companion and conspirator who shared his irreverence and, more often than not, his mischievous sense of humor.
The Supplements are transcribed in full here for the first time alongside forty of Bell’s original illustrations. The articles describe the escapades of family members, household servants, and associates of the Bloomsbury Group, leaving nobody unscathed by the sharp wit of aunt and nephew. Designed to tease the adults, they portray Bloomsbury eccentricities along with the foibles and mishaps of the residents and visitors at Charleston. This is the first time the Supplements have been published since they were written, and will be welcomed by fans of Woolf and her circle.