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Letters Released: 'Virginia Woolf and the Raverats'

Cover of 'Virginia Woolf and the Raverats' features a Jacques Raverat painting.
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Cover of 'Virginia Woolf and the Raverats' features a Jacques Raverat painting.

In the years between the two world wars, British author Virginia Woolf formed a friendship with the artists Jacques and Gwen Raverat. After Jacques Raverat was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, their relationship survived -- even thrived -- when the couple moved from the orbit of the famed Bloomsbury Group to France; a lively correspondence with Woolf began.

The letters that passed between them have now been published by the Raverats' grandson, William Pryor. Their friendship was expressed almost exclusively through letters, and Pryor has assembled them in a collection with the Raverats' wood engravings, paintings and sketches, along with journal and diary entries.

Their subject matter was wide-ranging: gossip, art and religion; illness and mortality. Gwen, who was also the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, transcribed Jacques's letters to Woolf as his disease became more debilitating before his death at age 40, in 1925.

NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks to Pryor about his grandparents' remarkable friendship with Woolf.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's senior national correspondent, Linda Wertheimer travels the country and the globe for NPR News, bringing her unique insights and wealth of experience to bear on the day's top news stories.

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