By Jane Marcus
Recent feminist criticism has revolutionized the way we view modern literature, none more than the stories and novels of Virginia Woolf. Jane Marcus here collects twelve provocative new essays by women scholars, all of them taking feminist critical approaches to yield fresh readings of Woolf's work. Ellen Hawke's "The Magical Garden of Women" and Jane Marcus's "Thinking Back through Our Mothers" explore Woolf's relationships with women and offer a historical approach to her identification with other women writers. Marcus points out Woolf's technical achievement in the creation of a demotic chorus, the "collective sublime," in direct opposition to the "egotistical sublime" of male writers. Sara Ruddick's "Private Brothers/Public World" compares Woolf's relations with real and fictional brothers. Judy Little revises all previous readings of Jacob's Roomby treating it as parody. J. J. Wilson's "Why Is Orlando Difficult?" broaches the central problem of Woolf's most notorious novel. Jane Lilienfeld's investigation of To the Lighthouse provides new insight into the Ramsays' marriage. Suzette Henke's reading of Mrs. Dalloway detects an interlacing of feminism and Christian mysticism in the novel. Madeline Moore's essay on The Voyage Out explains that puzzling novel in terms of the myth of Demeter and Persephone, again a mother-daughter relationship. Susan Squier, overturning established opinion, argues that They Years is one of Woolf's most important novels. Louise DeSalvo's "Shakespeare's Other Sister" analyzes an unpublished Woolf story. Nora Eisenberg uses "Anon," an unpublished manuscript in the Berg Collections, to elucidate Between the Acts.
- Lincoln, NE