Download PDF by Karen Kaivola: All contraries confounded: the lyrical fiction of Virginia

By Karen Kaivola

ISBN-10: 0877453241

ISBN-13: 9780877453246

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Extra info for All contraries confounded: the lyrical fiction of Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Marguerite Duras

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6 The move to Bloomsbury created conditions favorable to Woolf's efforts to push back boundaries of "acceptable" female behavior and expression. Much has been made of Bloomsbury as an elite, effete, educated enclave of privilege and decadence. If it was all these things it was more: for Woolf it was a place of expansion and growth, a place where she could risk breaking cultural taboos. " he said. Can one really say it? I thought and we burst out laughing. With that one word all barriers of reticence and reserve went down.

Showalter maintains that Woolf's writing signals a withdrawal from the world and functions as ''an extension of her view of woman's social role: receptivity to the point of self-destruction, creative synthesis to the point of exhaustion and sterility" (296). Like Clarissa Dalloway and Mrs. Ramsey, who are acutely aware of and responsive to others, the writing absorbs and smoothes over conflict and difference. And if the writing absorbs conflict and difference, it carries out a certain kind of ideological work by diverting the reader's attention away from what is radical and subversive.

My terror of real life has always kept me in a nunnery" (Letters 4:180). However, if indeed she was ''sexually cowardly," she was hardly a prude: "If Eddy chooses to plunge his poker in an ant heap or a woman or the next young man he meets in Bond St. its [sic] all the same to me" (Letters 4:226). Moreover, despite the feminist content of her work, especially in such essays as A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, Woolf did not choose to identify herself as a feminist. When she wrote of listening to two young men, she carefully disassociated herself from feminists: "If I were a feminist [their egotism] would throw great light on the history of the sexessuch complete self-absorption: such entire belief that a woman has nothing to do but listen" (Letters 4:312; emphasis mine).

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All contraries confounded: the lyrical fiction of Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Marguerite Duras by Karen Kaivola


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