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Peer-reviewed audio paper

Sound puppet

A pen friendship between East and West.

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In 1937, the Chinese artist and writer Ling Shu Hua wrote to Virginia Woolf, asking for help writing her autobiography in English. She asked Woolf if she could call her ‘teacher’ or ‘tutor’, which some critics find strange as Ling was already a well-established and well-regarded writer in China. However, autobiography was not a typical form at that time in China, especially for women, while Woolf had spent much of her writing life thinking about how to best combine fact or everyday lives, and fiction in her work. This audio paper uses the correspondence between Woolf and Ling to explore what it means to use personal material in a way that reaches a universal audience, and in particular how modern technology through sonic compositions can help to convey spiritual depth in writing, essentially achieving the same kind of effect that Woolf felt she was not able to achieve in language during her writing life.

Text: Heidi Stalla. Sonic composition: Diana Chester. Voices: Cora Ceipek, Archondia Thanos, Cheung Hoi Shan,  Rebecca Yuqi Huan, Thaddeus Cochrane, Olivia Macmillan-Scott.

Bibliography

de Man, P (1979) “Autobiography as De-facement”, MLN, Vol. 94, No. 5, Comparative Literature (Dec., 1979), The Johns Hopkins University Press pp. 919-930

Laurence, P. (2013) Lily Briscoe’s Chinese Eyes. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press.

Ling, S. (1988) Ancient Melodies.  New York: Universe Books.

Ling, S, (2009) Embroidery Pillow. Jiangsu: Phoenix Publishing Media Group.

Waley, A. (1965) Chinese Poems. New Jersey: Rutgers University Library.

Welland, S. (2007) A Thousand Miles of Dreams. New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Ventriloquist Instruction Manual

Woolf, V. (2009) “Craftsmanship” in Selected Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Woolf, V. (1985) Moments of Being. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Woolf, V. (2004) To the Lighthouse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Woolf, V. (1998) The Waves. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Keywords

Virginia Woolf
Ling Shu Hua
Literary Modernism
Autobiography
Ventriloquism