Virginia Woolf’s Essays: Sketching the Past by Elena Gualtieri

By Elena Gualtieri

Although as genres they can be ignored, the cartoon and the essay represented for Virginia Woolf the 2 varieties of writing during which she articulated her figuring out of the workings of literary background. during this leading edge examine, Elena Gualtieri analyzes intimately the intersection among essays and sketches in Woolf's non-fiction as a part of a far-reaching argument concerning the scopes and types of feminist feedback, its figuring out of the historic strategy and its place within the landscape of twentieth century highbrow history.

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H. Lawrence, with whom Woolf will later recognise a certain affinity of intents, only published Sons and Lovers in 1913, while Conrad, whose Nostromo appeared in 1904, was discounted by Woolf on the grounds of his nationality. On the other hand, the writers who were being 30 Virginia Woolf 's Essays published around this time included precisely that triumvirate of Edwardians who will famously become the targets of Woolf's criticism in `Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown': H. G. Wells's Kipps appeared in 1905, John Galsworthy published The Man of Property the following year, while Bennett's Anna of the Five Towns had appeared in 1901 and The Old Wives' Tale was published in 1908.

Yet she insists that Austen's `music' has remained untouched by her elevation to iconic status and can still be heard over and above the chorus of approbation provided by `the elderly and distinguished', by `the clergy and the squirearchy' (331). The language and practices of criticism, and especially of academic criticism, have changed considerably since Woolf's time, so that it is now unlikely to find a critic setting out in search of the beginnings of Woolf's `music'. But the sense of continuity, of persistence of voice that is embodied in Woolf's metaphor keeps on guiding our reading of her disparate and heterogeneous oeuvre.

Lady Hester Stanhope. Margaret Fuller. Duchess of Newcastle. ' (D 1, 23). Like many other of Woolf's historical projects, the book was never realised and today we only have fragments of its conception in essays such as `The Eccentrics', which mentions all of the figures listed by Woolf in the 1915 diary entry as instances of offbeat, unconvential lives that `must not be forgotten' (E 3, 40). Woolf, though, appears to have herself forgotten about them, since apart from the essays on Lady Stanhope and Margaret Cavendish which Eccentric Histories 41 she had already written before the 1915 diary entry, she subsequently returned to only one of the figures listed there, the `aunt Julia' whose inclusion among the eccentrics was marked by doubt.

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