Virginia Woolf and the Nineteenth-Century Domestic Novel

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SUNY Press, Feb 16, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 300 pages
In Virginia Woolf and the Nineteenth-Century Domestic Novel, Emily Blair explores how nineteenth-century descriptions of femininity saturate both Woolf’s fiction and her modernist manifestos. Moving between the Victorian and modernist periods, Blair looks at a range of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century sources, including the literature of conduct and household management, as well as autobiography, essay, poetry, and fiction. She argues for a reevaluation of Woolf’s persistent yet vexed fascination with English domesticity and female creativity by juxtaposing the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell and Margaret Oliphant, two popular Victorian novelists, against Woolf’s own novels and essays. Blair then traces unacknowledged lines of influence and complex interpretations that Woolf attempted to disavow. While reconsidering Woolf’s analysis of women and fiction, Blair simultaneously deepens our appreciation of Woolf’s work and advances our understanding of feminine aesthetics.
 

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Contents

Reassessing Virginia Woolf s Relationship to Her NineteenthCentury Predecessors
11
2 The Etiquette of Fiction
41
Elizabeth Gaskells Wives and Daughters
71
Virginia Woolf and Margaret Oliphant
111
Margaret Oliphants Domestic Genius
137
Virginia Woolf s Perfect Hostess
171
The Writer as Hostess
229
Notes
235
Works Cited
263
Index
277
Copyright

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Page 18 - For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.

About the author (2012)

Emily Blair teaches English in the Humanities Division at Solano Community College in Fairfield, California.

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