London, South Kensington
1 November 2006
WOOLF, Virginia (1882-1941). Two autograph letters signed and one typed letter signed ('Virginia') to Philip Morrell, Monks House, Rodmell, n.d. [21 May 1938], 'Christmas Eve ', and 'Friday [1 July 1939]' (the first slightly discoloured in the margin, the second lightly spotted, and dust-stained on verso); and an autograph letter signed (jointly with Leonard Woolf, 'Your attached old friends Virginia & Leonard '), to Julian Morrell, 'Tuesday [January 1928], 5.1pages, 8vo, in autograph and one page, oblong 8vo, typed; and a typewritten epitaph
Encouragement to Lady Ottoline's widower to write her biography (she had died on 22 April 1938) and to work on her papers ('I'm sure that is the only way to keep her, if you would write of your life together'), reminiscing - 'I remember I never sent her my little Christmas present, but she sent me hers - a shell, wrapped in many coloured papers' - and mentioning Ethel Smyth, 'vigorous but unsubtle'. 'Ottoline's message' referred to in the second letter was the 'Farewell Message' she had prepared for all her friends two years before her death - 'It was like hearing her voice again ... she comes back so often especially as I walk about London'. The third letter encloses a seven-line epitaph with a Latin translation made at 'Tom Eliot's insistence: 'He was subtle and persuasive and Leonard agreed: and finally they, or rather Leonard invented but Tom approved, the Latin translation which I give'. The letter to Julian congratulates her on her engagement.
Philip Morrell asked Virginia Woolf to write an obituary of Ottoline for the Times but he discarded her epitaph in favour of lines he wrote himself. Ottoline left her a ring and a shawl. The somewhat constrained style of the letters may reflect Virginia's dislike of Philip Morrell's attempt the previous February to address her with embarrassing sentimentality, which he had already done ten years before. (4)
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Please note this lot comprises of 4 letters and not three as stated in the catalogue.
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