chapter  8
Virginia woolf ’s glasses: material encounters in the literary/artistic house museum NUAL A HANCOCK
Pages 14

During the course of my research at Charleston and Monk’s House, certain artefacts have presented themselves as particularly compelling, sensorily laden, psychically charged. eir encounter – in some cases their literal ‘unwrapping’ – oers a potential ‘entering in’ on the felt material processes and experiences of Woolf ’s and Bell’s lives. To be in the presence of such

artefacts is to be physically susceptible to the resonances that they impart; to the susurrations of past lives which emanate from their surfaces. What biographical disclosures might be enacted through a sensate, corporeal interaction with the intimate materials of others? is chapter oers an account of phenomenological encounters with three ‘things’ in particular: a dressing table mirror which bears witness to a moment of terrible loss in Woolf ’s and Bell’s childhood; a modernist painted cupboard by Vanessa Bell, bodying forth the animated gestures of her personal decorative écriture; and Virginia Woolf ’s glasses, material surrogates for her prodigious vision, oering borrowed ‘in-sights’ into her ways of seeing the world.