Quotation: Virginia Woolf on communicating pure truth (if you have something to say…make it memorable)

The first duty of a lecturer—to hand you after an hour’s discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks, and keep on the mantelpiece forever.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) Discuss

This is the only surviving recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice. It is part of a BBC radio broadcast from April 29th, 1937. The talk was called “Craftsmanship” and was part of a series entitled “Words Fail Me”.
The audio is accompanied by a slideshow of photographs of Virginia Woolf.

The text was published as an essay in “The Death of the Moth and Other Essays” (1942), and I’ve transcribed the recorded portion here:
http://atthisnow.blogspot.com/2009/06/craftsmanship-virginia-woolf.html

My take on this:  “if you have something to say…make it memorable”

5 responses to “Quotation: Virginia Woolf on communicating pure truth (if you have something to say…make it memorable)

  1. It is the reason I chose to post this rare and exquisite example of eloquence in public speech: Virginia Woolf make language flow like a calm and yet assiduously powerful river at it’s meeting of the sea. You don’t hear any labor, ahhh, ohhh, but only fluency of thought transmitted to the audience: WOW! Thanks for you comment and for visiting EuZicAsa! TGIF!

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  2. What a great find! (I am referring to the recording of Virginia Woolf speaking on radio.) What she has to say is strikingly modern – some 75 years later. I am fascinated by the measured pace with which she speaks. I know that one had to speak more slowly in the early days of radio in order for the sound to be captured, but I rather like the idea that this would be her usual speed of deliverance. I also wonder how much influence Virginia Woolf has had on Stephen Fry’s thoughts on the English language. He has a similar take on one word not being “better” than another intrinsically.

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    • It is the reason I chose to post this rare and exquisite example of eloquence in public speech: Virginia Woolf make language flow like a calm and yet assiduously powerful river at it’s meeting of the sea. You don’t hear any labor, ahhh, ohhh, but only fluency of thought transmitted to the audience: WOW! Thanks for you comment and for visiting EuZicAsa! TGIF!

      Like

  3. Wonderful voice, not only novels…

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