Virginia Woolf and Heritage

BookVirginia Woolf and Heritage

Virginia Woolf and Heritage

Clemson University Press


June 8th, 2017



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This volume aims to situate Virginia Woolf as a writer who, despite her fame as a leading modernist, also drew on a rich literary and cultural heritage. The chapters in this volume explore the role her family heritage, literary tradition and heritage locations play in Woolf’ s works, uncovering the influence the past had on her work, and particularly her deep indebtedness to the Victorian period in the process. It looks at how she reimagined heritage, including her queer readings of the past. This volume also aims to examine Woolf’ s own literary legacy: with essays examining her reception in Romania, Poland and France and her impact on contemporary writers like Alice Munro and Lidia Yuknavitch. Lastly, Woolf’ s standing in the increasingly popular field of biofiction is explored. The collection features an extended chapter on Virginia Woolf’ s relationship with her cousin H.A.L. Fisher by David Bradshaw, and an extended chapter by Laura Marcus on Woolf and the concept of shame.

Author Information

Jane de Gay is a member of the Editorial Board of the Woolf Studies Annual. She gave the Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture (for the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain) on ‘ Virginia Woolf and the Clergy’ in 2009 and was an invited plenary speaker at the 17th Annual Virginia Woolf Conference, Miami University, Ohio, June 2007. Tom Breckin is a PhD student at Leeds Trinity University, working on a thesis that explores Virginia Woolf’ s literary connections with the Victorian era. The research focuses particularly on Woolf’ s relationship with Sir Leslie Stephen, as both her father and as a fellow writer. Tom was co-organizer of the 26th Annual Virginia Woolf conference on ‘ Virginia Woolf and Heritage’ at Leeds Trinity University 16-19 June 2016. Anne Reus is a PhD student at Leeds Trinity University. Her thesis examines Virginia Woolf’ s representations of nineteenth-century women writers, focusing on the ways in which Victorian biographical narratives mediate Woolf’ s responses to them, and the impact this has on her conception of female professional authorship.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Table of Contents6
Jane de Gay, Anne Reus, and Tom Breckin – Introduction9
List of Abbreviations14
Heritage: A Debate16
“Her—it—age!”: Virginia Woolf and Syllabic Intervention—Or, “Heritage is a Kim Novak word”17
Heritage, Education, and Mentoring24
“The Very Centre of the Very Centre”: H. A. L. Fisher, Oxford, and “That Great Patriarchal Machine”25
Virginia Stephen’s Uneasy Heritage: Lessons, Readers, and Class45
Teaching Virginia Woolf in Sin City: Vegas Entertainers and a New Feminist Heritage51
Out-takes from Upstarts: Virginia Woolf, Jane Ellen Harrison,and the Heritage of Dissent,or, “There She Wasn’t?”57
Virginia Woolf’s Female Heritage: The Legacy of Anny Thackeray Ritchie, Woolf’s “Transparent Medium”62
Heritage Spaces68
Virginia Woolf and the Artistic Heritage of St. Ives69
“The little bit of power I had myself”: Lady Lasswade’s Shifting Sense of Place in The Years75
Through the Arch: The Country House and the Tradition of English Tyranny in Woolf’s Between the Acts82
Heritage Hoarding: Artifacts, Archives, and Ambiguity, or, the Saga of Virginia Woolf’s Standing Desk88
“Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!”: Vanessa Bell’s Death of the Moth Dust Jacket as Monument to Virginia Woolf95
Literary and Cultural Heritages104
Virginia Woolf in Greece:“Curious contrasts!”: Hellenism and Englishness105
Whose Idea of Tragedy? Mrs Dalloway and the Ancient Greek Tradition111
Silence, Darkness, and Dirt: Mysticism and Materiality in The Years and Between the Acts117
Virginia Woolf Reads the Romantics124
A Critical Heritage: Virginia Woolf, Leslie Stephen, and Walter Scott130
“Where Childhood’s dreams are twined”: Virginia Woolf and the Literary Heritage of Lewis Carroll136
Queer Pasts142
Sex and Literary History in Orlando143
Queer Elizabeth: Early/Modern Feeling in Orlando and Elizabeth and Essex149
Persuading Rachel: Woolf and Austen’s “little voyage of discovery”156
“The world…seen from this angle undoubtedly looks queer”: History, Heritage, and the Queer Domesticity of Between the Acts163
Modernism and Heritage170
Resetting the Type: An Exploration of the Historical Sense in Mrs. Dalloway171
Kenya Colony and the Kenya Novel: The East African Heritage of “A Very Fine Negress” in A Room of One’s Own177
Leonard Woolf’s Fear and Politics: A Debate at the Zoo: Satirical Heritage as Apocalyptic Prophecy183
Virginia Woolf and the War on Books: Cultural Heritage and Dis-Heritage in the 1930s191
Gender Roles and the War Machine: An Undergraduate Roundtable on Virginia Woolf’s Legacies198
Writing Lives and Histories204
The Play of Fact and Fiction in Virginia Stephen’s “The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn”205
“Writing the history of my own times”: Virginia Woolf and the Diary211
Heritage, Legacy, and the Life-Writing of Woolf and Rhys217
Life as Legacy: Truth, Fiction, and Fidelity of Representation in Biographical Novels Featuring Virginia Woolf223
From the Author to the Icon: A Heritage of Virginia Woolf in French Biographies and Biofictions232
Flights of Archival Imagination: Woolf’s Transcendent Materiality in Contemporary “Archive Fiction”238
Woolf's Legacies 244
“A shadow crossed the tail of his eye”: The Reception of Virginia Woolf in Romania: Heritage Transformed245
Woolf’s Imaginarium: Exploring Virginia Woolf’s Legacy to Contemporary Polish Culture251
An Office of Her Own? Alice Munro and the Legacy of Writing with In-Authority259
Thinking Back through Virginia Woolf: Woolf as Portal in Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Small Backs of Children266
The Malicious Gene: An Evolutionary Games Strategy? Woolf’s Hawkish Inheritance272
“Some ancestral dread: ”Woolf, Autobiography, and the Question of “Shame”279
Notes on Contributors296