Simon is writing persuasively (when does he do otherwise?) about Virginia Woolf today and specifically A Room of One's Own, and as it happens that just last night I read a passage referring to her I thought I'd post it.
But before we get to that, what do you think of the picture? It is of the two-year-old Virginia with her mother Julia Stephen and I found it on Read, Seen, Heard where Kihm, who describes himself beautifully as an unfocused generalist (join the club!), comments on what that small girl had ahead of her ...
To the quotation then, and this appears in Humphrey Carpenter's The Inklings. It is the academic Hugo Dyson* recalling his visits to Garsington Manor when he was an undergraduate and his hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell filled her house with members of the Bloomsbury Group and other writers and artists of the day. At Garsington he had encountered "all the people whom secretly one would have most desired to meet - and, as so often happened to a shy, insignificant person, when one did meet them one was filled with a kind of terror. They were kindly enough, but I found them alarming. They weren't, most of them, my weight. I do remember finding Virginia Woolf immensely beautiful and immensely frightening; and one of my fears - I don't think I was quite alone in this - was that she would speak to me one day (but she never did)".
*I'll digress a moment to the meetings of The Inklings, the Oxford discussion group at which the likes of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met to talk and read their work aloud, and to report Dyson's reaction to Tolkien's reading another instalment of The Lord of the Rings: "Oh god, not another elf".