English novelist and critic Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941), 1902. (Photo by George C. Beresford/Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Credit: Wikipedia.org

What a treasure I have for you all today.  Oh, such a gem; a precious gift.  At least, this is how I felt when I stumbled across this BBC Culture posting to mark the anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death yesterday.

It is thought to be the only surviving recording of her voice.  This is remarkable in itself.  But just take a listen to what she is saying.  There is a beautifully animated couple of minutes, where she talks about words.  Words? You might say. Yes – her take on words – and how fascinating and delightful her perspective is.

The article sets out the whole transcript of her 1937 BBC broadcast below the recording.  But it is her voice which is so mesmerising.  Husky, calm, serious and purposeful, even though her message is witty and humorous.  Her description of the English language dances around just like the imagery in her books.

Brilliant.

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