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Virginia Woolf's Renaissance: Woman Reader or Common Reader?

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In this carefully constructed book, Juliet Dusinberre explores Woolf's affinity on many levels with the early modern period and her sense of being reborn though the creation of an alternative tradition of reading and writing whose roots go back to the Elizabethans and beyond. Dusinberre offers a critique of Woolf's ideas through a discussion of particular writers—Montaigne, Donne, Pepys, and Bunyan, Dorothy Osborne and Madame de Sévigné—and of the literary forms of the essay and the personal letter and diary, ...

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Overview

In this carefully constructed book, Juliet Dusinberre explores Woolf's affinity on many levels with the early modern period and her sense of being reborn though the creation of an alternative tradition of reading and writing whose roots go back to the Elizabethans and beyond. Dusinberre offers a critique of Woolf's ideas through a discussion of particular writers—Montaigne, Donne, Pepys, and Bunyan, Dorothy Osborne and Madame de Sévigné—and of the literary forms of the essay and the personal letter and diary, forms traditionally associated with women. Questions about printing, the body, and the relationship between amateurs and professionals create striking connections between Woolf and the early modern period.

Virginia Woolf was extraordinarily daring for her time in making her assumptions about culture explicit. In Virginia Woolf's Renaissance, Juliet Dusinberre reveals a new Virginia Woolf, more radical, energetic, and socially aware than the popular image of a Bloomsbury aesthete, who constructed a Renaissance for women to which she herself could not belong.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores Virginia Woolf's affinity with the early modern period and her sense of being reborn as writer and reader through the creation of an alternative tradition of reading and writing whose roots go back to the Elizabethans and beyond. The author, a Fellow in English at Girton College, Cambridge, critiques Woolf's ideas through a discussion of particular writers<-->Montaigne, Donne, Pepys and Bunyan, Dorothy Osborne and Madame de S<'e>vign<'e>. She considers the forms traditionally associated with women, such as the essay, the personal letter and diary, in the context of printing, the body, and the relationship between amateurs and professionals. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877455776
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Juliet Dusinberre is the author of Shakespeare and the Nature of Women and Alice to the Lighthouse. She is a Fellow in English at Girton College, Cambridge

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
1 Virginia Woolf's Renaissance: Amateurs and Professionals 1
Women and Literary Tradition 1
The Personal and the Professional 16
History or Fiction? 18
Literature and Being: Quaker Inheritance 23
Women and Printing 29
2 Virginia Woolf and Montaigne: Them and Us 40
A Female Genre 40
The Art of Reading 42
Rejecting Authority 52
Montaigne and Gender 57
3 Virginia Woolf Reads John Donne 65
Undoing the 'masculine' John Donne 65
Translating Donne into the Feminine 77
Rebels 85
4 Letters as Resistance: Dorothy Osborne, Madame de Sevigne and Virginia Woolf 94
Writing for Pleasure 94
Preaching, Passion and Privacy 104
Resisting the Family: Dorothy Osborne 114
Letters, Great Men and Criticism 119
5 Diaries: Pepys and Woolf 126
A Passion for Records 126
Pepys: Social Mobility and Marriage 138
Virginia Woolf: New Woman 149
Pepys and Woolf: Temporal and Spiritual Accounts 154
6 Bunyan and Virginia Woolf: A History and a Language of Their Own 166
Women and the Vernacular: Bunyan, Foxe and the Bible 166
Outsiders 177
7 The Body and the Book 192
Body and Mind 192
Bloomsbury: Female Space 198
Obscenity: Sir John Harington and Woolf 206
Bodies, Politics and the Unliterary 217
The Press and the Fire 226
Notes 233
Select Bibliography 257
Index 271
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