cover image The Charleston Bulletin Supplements

The Charleston Bulletin Supplements

Virginia Woolf & Quentin Bell, edited by Claudia Olk. Univ. of Chicago, $18 (144p) ISBN 978-0-7123-5891-0

Between the years 1923-1927 Woolf and her young nephew Bell periodically collaborated on a satirical family newspaper read for the amusement of all at holidays, special occasions, or over breakfast. These charming supplements are reproduced here in their original forms: dictated or hand-written by Woolf and illustrated by the adolescent Bell. Although these vignettes will not provide a major contribution to the world of literature, they hold a particular fascination both because they were produced during Woolf's most fertile writing years, and Bell's ham-fisted illustrations are laughable precursors of his future career as an artist, art historian, as well as author of Woolf's biography. Their tender parodies, faux news, and embellished biographies lampoon their eccentric inner circle of family, artists, and writers that formed the Bloomsbury Group. The incidents recounted are mostly of absent-minded blunders and laughable failures; the playful affection and irreverent humor employed convey the more buoyant aspects of Woolf's nature, which is often overshadowed by her tragic end. For those with an interest in the quotidian life of the Bloomsbury Group, the outcome is charming and provides its readers with a glimpse of Woolf at her best as a high-spirited and loving aunt. (June)