Cover image for Virginia Woolf and the essay
Virginia Woolf and the essay
Rosenberg, Beth Carole.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
310 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6045.O72 Z8923 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Virginia Woolf and the Essay is one of the first critical studies to focus exclusively on Woolf's essays and thereby anticipates what is fast becoming the next major area of interest in Woolf studies. The collection begins with an introduction that surveys the historical reception of Virginia Woolf's essays, and then sketches out a methodological study of Woolf's essays by placing them within historical, literary-historical, reader-orientated, generic, and feminist contexts. As Virginia Woolf and the Essay proves, Woolf's essays are as fresh and delightful, as complex and inviting, to us now as they were to her original readers.

Author Notes

Beth Carole Rosenberg is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the author of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Johnson: Common Readers.

Jeanne Dubino is Assistant Professor of English at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire. She has published articles on both Virginia Woolf and on popular culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This volume examines Woolf's essays and reviews, presenting them for their value within the literary tradition rather than as gloss to her fiction. The collection includes an overview of the 20 years that Woolf spent writing essays and reviews and surveys the response of her contemporaries. Several contributions are particularly noteworthy. M. Cuddy-Keane's "Virginia Woolf and the Varieties of Historicist Experience" suggests a parallel between Woolf's modernist break with traditional historicism and her abandonment of traditional narrative form. In "Refusing to Hit Back," L. Low provides a postmodern reading of Woolf and the impersonality in her writing, refuting the identity feminist point of view. Four essays on Woolf and literary history establish Woolf as critic and writer conscious of her place in literary history but without the negative frame of earlier analyses that read Woolf as victim of patriarchal oppression who reacted with a Bloomian "anxiety of influence." In their essays on Woolf and reading, B. Daugherty suggests that Woolf saw reading and writing as similar processes and K. Schiff considers Woolf's concept of "moments of being" as providing the possibility of wholeness, surpassing the fragmentation of daily experience. A useful volume for upper-division undergraduates through faculty. N. Allen; Beaver College

Table of Contents

Part Woolf And History
Virginia Woolf
From Book Reviewer to Literary Critic;J.Dubino Colonizing Virginia Woolf
Scrutiny and Contemporary Cultural Views;E.McNees Virginia Woolf and the Varieties of Historicist Experience; M.Cuddy-Keane
Part 2 Woolf And Literary History
Entering Woolf's Imaginary
A Second Look at the Second Common Reader;S.Greene 'deeply and consciously affected...'
Virginia Woolf's Reviews of the Romantic Poets;E.A.Hungerford The Burning Ground of the Present
Woolf and Her Contemporaries;C.J.Mares A Modernism of One's Own
Virginia Woolf's TLS Reviews and Eliotic Modernism;M.Kaufmann
Part 3 Woolf And Reading
Readin', Writin', and Revisin'
Virginia Woolf's 'How Should One Read a Book?'
B.Rigel Daugherty Moments of Reading in Woolf's Critical Essays
K.Schiff Pleasure and Belief in 'Phases of Fiction'; A.E.Fernald
Part 4 Woolf And Genre
Four Stages in Woolf's Idea of Comedy
'A Sense of Joviality and Magnanimity;S.A.Jacobsen A Haunted House
Ghostly Presences in Woolf's Essays and Early Fiction;G.M Johnson
Part 5 The Essay And Feminism
Refusing to Hit Back
Virginia Woolf and Impersonality Question;L.Low Que scais-je?
Virginia Woolf and the Essay as Feminist Critique;C.Sandbach-Dahlstrom
Notes on Contributors