Perfumed Pages: Virginia Woolf’s Birthday


Woolf in 1927

January 25 is Virginia Woolf’s birthday—she was born in 1882 and died in 1941, leaving us a body of work that’s still essential reading.

Woolf herself was known to dislike perfume, as I’ve learned from Catherine Maxwell’s Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture. However, she was keenly sensitive to scent in the natural world. A few years ago, Victoria of Bois de Jasmin wrote a post about Woolf in 2014 that includes a beautiful smell-related quotation from Mrs. Dalloway; you can read it here.

Woolf’s personal distaste for perfume hasn’t stopped brands from creating fragrances in her honor. You can read Kevin’s review of Jardins d’Écrivains Orlando, named for the titular character of Woolf’s 1918 novel, here, on Now Smell This.

And you can reread my slightly snarky thoughts on Jo Malone’s olfactory tribute to the “Bloomsbury” literary circle here, also at Now Smell This.

Now I resolve to reread at least one Woolf novel in 2018. I should probably revisit “A Room of One’s Own,” too. It’s still timely.



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