Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf

Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf

Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf

Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf

Synopsis

Rachel Bowlby's classic Feminist Destinations now appears in an updated edition with five new chapters. The additional material looks at Virginia Woolf in new frames -- as a woman essayist; as a city writer and critic of modern culture; as a writer in love. This new collection represents this noted feminist critic's complete writings on Virginia Woolf, and demonstrates how Woolf's writing, in its many forms and fashions, continues to provide rich matter for discussing the histories and futures of women, writing, and culture.

Excerpt

Feminist Destinations was first published, as a separate book, in 1988. It was part of a series, edited byTerry Eagleton, whose aim, pragmatically, was to offer 'rereadings' of regularly taught writers in the light of the new, often French-inspired theoretical criticism that was changing the study of literature in the 1980s. I suspect that it was partly the prevailing sense of urgency accompanying the promotion of the new critical approaches which prompted my use of a guiding metaphor of movement and communication: the train.

In 1996, British Rail has ceased to claim that 'We're getting there'; for British Rail is no more. But Woolf's Mrs Brown could now stay on the train all the way from Richmond to Waterloo, and then take the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel to Paris for less time than it would take her to go from King's Cross and visit a friend in Edinburgh. The implied separations between strange, foreign theories and local literature that lay behind many of the new readings of major authors in the 1980s have faded away, as those new kinds of criticism have naturallsed themselves, ceasing to appear as imports brought in and 'applied' from outside. That is why I have not tried to revise Feminist Destinations (though there is some new material in the footnotes), as that would entail a completely different book. Historical and critical times have changed; the starting points are no longer the same, and nor are the destinations. Instead, the text is continued by what follows it.

In Woolf's case, the sense of change and movement current in the criticism of the 1980s has been amplified and redirected by the appearance of many new editions of her works, in the wake of her (as it turns out, temporary) emergence from copyright in Britain from 1992. Where previously the project was to present new theoretical approaches, including . . .

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