Saturday, 30 May 2009

Virginia Woolf's voice

Watching The Hours DVD special features, I came across an interview with Nicole Kidman where she is quoted saying that she didn't try to imitate Virginia Woolf's voice in the slightest; if she had done it would have been comical.

I was puzzled by this and quickly searched the web for any record of Virginia's voice (I don't know why I've never thought to do this). And, lo and behold, I came across this. This is the only survived recording of her voice and ... I'm gobsmacked. I would have never put such a posh, plummy voice with this:

On the other hand, the extract was recorded in 1937, when Virginia was 55 so I suppose there is some age added (but 55 isn't that old!!!). I had to listen a few times because I couldn't concentrate on what she was actually saying.

Alternatively, here's a radio interview with Sylvia Plath from October 1962. I may be biased because she's my favourite writer but I could listen to her all day. I love her voice.

Part 1
Part 2
Sylvia reading 'Lady Lazarus'



Amanda said...

That's not how I would have imagined Virginia Woolf, either, but I guess after 55 years and a smoker?

Ceri said...

Ah, yes, I forgot about her smoking habit. I always suspected that she'd have a posh sounding voice but nothing like the recording. That voice sounds like it would come from a woman resembling Hyacinth Bucket!