Holding Virginia Woolf In Your Hands

Roxana Robinson at The New Yorker:

What moves you to stand in the presence of the house, the landscape, the objects of a writer whom you so admire? Why are literary pilgrimages so compelling? Virginia Woolf explains: “It would seem to be a fact that writers stamp themselves upon their possessions more indelibly than other people.” Certainly, each year, thousands of people visit Monk’s House, Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s sixteenth-century cottage, in Rodmell, East Sussex. It’s set right on the village street, a modest clapboard building with a big garden beyond. Inside, the small, low-ceilinged rooms are peopled with pilgrims. You move quietly among them; the atmosphere is hushed and meditative, like that in a church. You are caught up in a silent current, adrift in Woolf’s life: these are the chairs that were decorated by her sister; here is her narrow bed by the window; here are her books, tightly packed, floor to ceiling. You are very close to her here. You are speaking with her in your mind.

more here.