Virginia Woolf on Roger Fry

Woolf on Roger Fry, with a quotation from Fry on E. M. Forster

As a critic of literature, then, he was not what is called a safe guide. He looked at the carpet from the wrong side; but he made it for that very reason display unexpected patterns. And many of his theories held good for both arts. Design, rhythm, texture—there they were again—in Flaubert as in Cézanne. And he would hold up a book to the light as if it were a picture and show where in his view—it was a painter's of course—it fell short. He greatly admired E. M. Forster's *Passage to India*. 'I think it's a marvellous texture—really beautiful writing. But Oh lord I wish he weren't a mystic, or that he would keep his mysticism out of his books. . . . I'm certain that the only meanings that are worth anything In a work of art are those that the artist himself knows nothing about. The moment he tries to explain his ideas and his emotions he misses the great thing.'

Roger Fry book cover.jpg

Virginia Woolf, *Roger Fry: A Biography* (NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1940), 240-1. Available online:

We look forward to Frances Spalding's talk on Woolf and Fry, Wed. 18 October 2017, 1.00 pm, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.


Some interesting information about Virginia Woolf's biography of Roger Fry from Smith College Libraries in Northampton, Mass., USA:

'As was her custom, Woolf alternated between writing nonfiction and fiction, working on *Roger Fry* and *Between the Acts* simultaneously in 1938. She was also writing her autobiography, “A Sketch of the Past.” Woolf began her research within a month of Fry’s death (9 September 1934) and the project took five years to complete. *Roger Fry* was published on 25 July 1940, six months after Woolf’s fifty-eighth birthday and eight months before her death.'

Quoted from:…/rarebook/ex…/penandpress/case15b.htm

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