This volume showcases the multivalent nature of Woolf's life and fiction, along with her pervasive and varied influence on a diverse array of women writers from Britain, Ireland, America, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. The women writers profiled represent Woolf's transatlantic appeal across ethnic and national lines, across affinity and influence, friendship and mentorship.
Critical Insights: Virginia Woolf & 20th Century Women Writers introduces readers to the major turning points that occurred during this revolutionary time period. The essays in this volume showcase the multivalent nature of Woolf’s life and fiction, along with her pervasive and varied influence on a diverse array of women writers from Britain, Ireland, America, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. The women writers that were chosen represent Woolf’s transatlantic appeal across ethnic and national lines, across affinity and influence, friendship and mentorship.
The first essay explores the double vision of reflection and refraction that blurs the boundary between the interior and exterior in Woolf’s extended essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), an inspirational and controversial centerpiece of feminism. The next four critical context essays lay an introductory foundation that imparts a broad vision of Woolf’s historical context and critical reception, and then a more concentrated comparison and close textual analysis of Woolf’s works. Turning the focus towards women writers who interacted with Woolf or her writings via affinity, influence, or friendship, the next eleven essays in the volume convey comparative, critical readings of a wide variety of texts that reveal intertextual convergences with Woolf’s feminist perspectives.
Works discussed in Critical Insights: Virginia Woolf and 20th Century Women Writers include the most important and most frequently discussed women’s writings that ultimately lead to the success of the women’s suffrage movement, including:
“The most amazing senses of her generation”: Colourist Design in Katherine Mansfield’s Fiction by Angela Smith, Rebecca West: Twentieth-Century Heretical Humanist by Bernard Schweizer, Killing the Angel and the Monster: A Comparative and Postcolonial Analysis of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea and Virginia Woolf’s “The Voyage Out” by Mich Yonah Nyawalo, “It Had Grown in a Machine”: Transience of Identity and the Search for a Room of One’s Own in “Quicksand and Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral” by Christopher Allen Varlack, Parties, Pins, and Perspective: Eudora Welty, Virginia Woolf, and Matrilineal Inheritance by Emily Daniell Magruder,
An Irish Woman Poet’s Room: Eavan Boland’s Debt to Virginia Woolf by Helen Emmitt, Spaciousness and Subjectivity in Alice Walker’s Womanist Prose: From Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” to a Garden with “Every Color Flower Represented” by Sarah L. Skripsky, Raced Bodies, Corporeal Texts: Narratives of Home and Self in Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street” by Shanna M. Salinas, Destabilizing Life Writings: Narrative and Temporal Ruptures in “The Woman Warrior, China Men, and Orlando” by Quynh Nhu Le, and Narrative Forms and Feminist (Dis)Contents: An Intertextual Reading of the Prose of Tony Morrison and Virginia Woolf by Sandra Cox.
Critical Insights: Virginia Woolf and 20th Century Women Writers offers such a diverse mosaic of women writers, who resist the external imposition of patriarchal definitions of identity, demonstrates the multifaceted appeal of Woolf’s feminist legacy, as delineated in "A Room of One’s Own", where she beckons women writers to privacy and independence, courage and creativity as they begin to fill the blank page. Her legacy lives on today in the essays included in this volume, which not only provide innovative scholarship, but also an extensive range of critical perspectives on twentieth-century women writers, writers who have sought the new sentence and sequence that Woolf summons, writers who have developed a powerful poetry and prose of their own.
This influential title, Critical Insights: Virginia Woolf and 20th Century Women Writers, will benefit a wide range of academic and literary research needs. Its critical readings and in depth critical contexts will be useful for all students, researchers, or anyone interested in learning more about Woolf’s influence on women’s writings in the 20th century.