Readersforum's Blog

March 21, 2013

Waving to Virginia: Patti Smith Reads Woolf

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 11:28 am

pattismithBy Maria Popova

“One man will single me out and will tell me what he has told no other person.”

What could be more soul-quenching than two grand dames of creative culture — Virginia Woolf and Patti Smith — coming together? In this short footage recorded at the opening of a 2008 Paris exhibition of four decades’ worth of Smith’s art and photography, she celebrates Woolf’s 1931 novel The Waves (public library; public domain) with a mesmerizing dramatic performance.

In fact, Smith’s choice of narrative is more conceptual — perhaps an allusion to her 1979 album Wave — than an actual “reading”: Only a single sentence comes from Woolf’s original text, and the rest is a kind of free improvisation in a creative homage to the beloved author. Enjoy:

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