Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Avant-Garde: War, Civilization, Modernity

By Christine Froula | Go to book overview

SIX
A Fin in a Waste of Waters
Women, Genius, Freedom in Orlando, A Room of
One's Own, and The Waves

"Rarely rarely comest thou, spirit of delight." That was I singing this
time last year; & sang so poignantly that I have never forgotten it, or
my vision of a fin rising on a wide blank sea. No biographer could pos-
sibly guess this important fact about my life in the late summer of 1926;
yet biographers pretend they know people.

—Woolf, Diary, 4 September 192.7

If we have the habit of freedom and… see human beings… and the
sky, too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves… if we face
the fact… that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to
the world of men and women, then… Shakespeare's sister will put on
the body which she has so often laid down.

—Woolf, A Room of One's Own

We are not slaves bound to suffer incessantly unrecorded petty blows on
our bent backs. We are not sheep either, following a master. We are cre-
ators. We too have made something that will join the innumerable con-
gregations of past time. We too, as we put on our hats and push open the
door, stride not into chaos but into a world that our own force can sub-
jugate and make part of the illumined and everlasting road.

—Bernard, in Woolf, The Waves

-174-

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