Virginia Woolf

Overview

From her girlhood in her father's library to the end of her life, Virginia Woolf read widely and with passion. Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader shows how Virginia Woolf's reading affected her feminism and how her feminism affected her opinions of her reading. This new work looks at the impact of that intense reading on Woolf's writing and on her feminism. Each chapter looks at an aspect of her thinking—her attitude towards the English nation, the imagination, the public sphere, and fame—through the lens of...

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Virginia Woolf

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Overview

From her girlhood in her father's library to the end of her life, Virginia Woolf read widely and with passion. Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader shows how Virginia Woolf's reading affected her feminism and how her feminism affected her opinions of her reading. This new work looks at the impact of that intense reading on Woolf's writing and on her feminism. Each chapter looks at an aspect of her thinking—her attitude towards the English nation, the imagination, the public sphere, and fame—through the lens of a literary period, from Ancient Greece through the Romantics. The epilogue explores Woolf's surprising legacy among contemporary African writers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reading against the grain, as she argues Woolf herself did, Fernald brilliantly illustrates the centrality of Woolf's passionately ironic dialogues with Sappho, Hakluyt, Addison, and Byron to her legacy as feminist artist and theorist. By asking questions others haven't thought to ask, by finding parallels that both surprise and illuminate, Fernald, like Woolf, revises literary history, substantially enriching our understanding of the writer and her world."—Brenda R. Silver, Dartmouth College

"Fernald's elegant and smart book is wide ranging, taking up Woolf's autobiographical writings as well many of her major novels and essays. Fernald also brings a solid grounding in the history of English literature to her study of Woolf, which allows her to highlight Woolf's constant connection and response to her forbearers. I don't know of another book that offers precisely this strong combination. The Woolf who emerges is learned and engaged, almost scholarly in her attention to literary history, but lively and profound in her revision of the past."—Jessica Berman, The University of Maryland

"Anne Fernald's four case studies illuminate Virginia Woolf as an adventurous and independent reader, channeling and replenishing her creative wellsprings at the fountains of ancient Greece, the Elizabethan voyages, the English eighteenth century, and Lord Byron. A delightful portrait of the artist reading and a welcome contribution to Woolf's literary biography."—Christine Froula, Northwestern University

"At last, Virginia Woolf, the passionate reader, and Virginia Woolf, the dedicated feminist, need no longer be separated from each other. Thanks to Anne Fernald's own gifts as a reader of literary and social texts, we can now appreciate, as never before, how Woolf's reading and her feminism complement and reinforce each other. Fernald's method is as striking as her argument: she traces the fine lines as well as bolder contours of Woolf's writings through her lifelong engagement with four figures—Sappho, Hakylut, Addison and Byron—who inspired her art and helped shape her politics. The result is a commanding portrait of Woolf as an exemplary reader for her time—and ours."—Maria DiBattista, Princeton University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403969651
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne E. Fernald is Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing and Composition at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center. Fernald's work on Virginia Woolf and on modernism has appeared in Feminist Studies, Modern Fiction Studies, and Twentieth Century Literature as well as in several edited collections. A frequent book reviewer, she is also the book review editor for Woolf Studies Annual.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
• O Sister Swallow: Sapphic Fragments as English Literature
• The Memory Palace of Virginia Woolf
• A Feminist Public Sphere? Woolf's Revisions of the Eighteenth Century
• Aristocratic Liberalism and Armchair Socialism, or What Woolf Learned from Byron
• Conclusion

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