The WOW Files: Listen To The Only Known Recording Of Virginia Woolf’s Voice From 1937 BBC Radio

by • May 5, 2013 • Books, History, The WOW Files, Tilda SwintonComments (0)3794

Legendary British writer Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) has a very special place in history as one of the foremost modernists of the 20th century.  During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals.  Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), with its famous dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

In a fascinating new article in Brain Pickings, Maria Popova discovered the only known recording of Woolf’s voice which was originally broadcast on BBC Radio on April 19, 1937 as part of the network’s Words Fail Me series.  What you are about to hear was later published as an essay titled “On Craftsmanship” 5 years after its broadcast (and one year after Woolf’s death) in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays, the critically acclaimed collection which spans twenty years of Woolf’s writing.  You can listen to the recording in the Soundcloud player below, and to read the full transcript (the beginning part is missing from the recording) be sure to visit

Virginia Woolf’s appearance and mannerisms were immortalized by Nicole Kidman in director Stephen Daldry’s exquisite 2002 film The Hours.  Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando was brought to breathtaking life in Sally Potter’s 1992 film of the same name starring the amazingness that is Tilda Swinton.

SEE ALSO: The WOW Files: For The First Time In History You Can Listen To The Voice Of Alexander Graham Bell

WoolfSource: Brain Pickings

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