Monday, February 16, 2009

From The Writer's Almanac: Sunday, 15 February 2009

It's the week of Valentine's Day, a week in which we've been talking about love stories — in literature and in real life.
Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West met in December of 1922 at a dinner party. Over the next 19 years — until Virginia's suicide — they were friends and lovers, and they exchanged many hundreds of letters.
On this day in 1935, Virginia wrote a letter to Vita:
Friday          52 Tavistock Sqre.
I'm longing for an adventure, dearest Creature. But would like to stipulate for at least 48 1/2 minutes alone with you. Not to say or do anything in particular. Mere affection — to the memory of the porpoise in the pink window.
I've been so buried under with dust and rubbish. But now here's the spring ...
My mind is filled with dreams of romantic meetings. D'you remember once sitting at Kew in a purple storm? ...
So let me know, and love me better and better, and put another rung on the ladder and let me climb up.

After she met Virginia, Vita wrote in a letter: "I simply adore Virginia Woolf. At first you think she is plain, then a sort of spiritual beauty imposes itself on you, and you find a fascination in watching her. ... I have quite lost my heart."
Virginia captured everything she loved about Vita by making her the basis for the title character in Orlando (1928), her novel about an Elizabethan nobleman who suddenly becomes a woman at the age of thirty.

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