Presentation on theme: "“The Mark on the Wall” – short fiction from Monday or Tuesday (1921) (though first in Two Stories 1917) “Modern Fiction” – introductory material from The."— Presentation transcript:
“The Mark on the Wall” – short fiction from Monday or Tuesday (1921) (though first in Two Stories 1917) “Modern Fiction” – introductory material from The Common Reader (1921 and 1925) “Professions for Women” – a talk given to the Women’s Service League in 1931, reprinted in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays from “A Sketch of the Past” – autobiographical essay in manuscript (not published until 1976) "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." – A Room of One’s Own In the character of his [Gray’s] Elegy I rejoice to concur with the common reader; for by the common sense of readers uncorrupted with literary prejudices…must be finally decided all claim to poetical honours. – Samuel Johnson
“Professions for Women” – Virginia Woolf - read to the Women’s Service League in 1931 (after publication of A Room of One’s Own and her major novels) - later collected, in 1942, in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays - how does Woolf position herself relative to her audience? - what obstacles does Woolf talk about confronting as a profession woman writer? - in “Professions for Women,” Woolf alludes to Coventry Patmore’s long poem, The Angel in the House 1882-1941 (née Stephen; suicide by drowning) novelist, biographer, critic and theorist, auto- biographer, diarist, publisher
I.--The Paragon. When I behold the skies aloft Passing the pageantry of dreams, The cloud whose bosom, cygnet-soft, A couch for nuptial Juno seems, The ocean broad, the mountains bright, The shadowy vales with feeding herds, I from my lyre the music smite, Nor want for justly matching words. All forces of the sea and air, All interests of hill and plain, I so can sing, in seasons fair, That who hath felt may feel again. Elated oft by such free songs, I think with utterance free to raise That hymn for which the whole world longs, A worthy hymn in woman's praise; A hymn bright-noted like a bird's, Arousing these song-sleepy times With rhapsodies of perfect words, Ruled by returning kiss of rhymes. But when I look on her and hope To tell with joy what I admire, My thoughts lie cramp'd in narrow scope, Or in the feeble birth expire; I turned upon her and caught her by the throat.
No mystery of well-woven speech, No simplest phrase of tenderest fall, No liken'd excellence can reach Her, thee most excellent of all, The best half of creation's best, Its heart to feel, its eye to see, The crown and complex of the rest, Its aim and its epitome. Nay, might I utter my conceit, 'Twere after all a vulgar song, For she's so simply, subtly sweet, My deepest rapture does her wrong. Yet is it now my chosen task To sing her worth as Maid and Wife; Nor happier post than this I ask, To live her laureate all my life. On wings of love uplifted free, And by her gentleness made great, I'll teach how noble man should be To match with such a lovely mate; Felix courts and weds Honoria; Frederick, a rival for Honoria's hand, marries Jane and learns to love her before her early death
And then in her may move the more The woman's wish to be desired, (By praise increased), till both shall soar, With blissful emulations fired. And, as geranium, pink, or rose Is thrice itself through power of art, So may my happy skill disclose New fairness even in her fair heart; Until that churl shall nowhere be Who bends not, awed, before the throne Of her affecting majesty, So meek, so far unlike our own; Until (for who may hope too much From her who wields the powers of love?) Our lifted lives at last shall touch That happy goal to which they move; Until we find, as darkness rolls Away, and evil mists dissolve, That nuptial contrasts are the poles On which the heavenly spheres revolve. telling the truth about my own experience as a body
“The Mark on the Wall” – short fiction from Monday or Tuesday (1921) “Modern Fiction” – introductory material from The Common Reader (1921 and 1925) “Professions for Women” – a talk given to the Women’s Service League in 1931, reprinted in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays from “A Sketch of the Past” – autobiographical essay in manuscript (not published until 1976) Woolf and a theory of art: freedom/fact/reality: a snail on the wall formula as tyranny; life or spirit vs. materialism the “unconscious” novelist; sudden discoveries within the “illusive spirit” being and non- being; the things one has forgotten (cf. Tintern Abbey)
Woolf as neo-Romantic Modernist - consider Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight” and Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Prelude (Book 12 line 208 ff.) There are in our existence spots of time...now I think of the fire; the steady film of yellow light upon the page of my book...my eye lodged for a moment upon the burning coals, and that old fancy of the crimson flag flapping from the castle tower came into my mind... ‘Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs and vexes meditation...the thin blue flame lies on my low burnt fire...Only that film, which fluttered on the grate, still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. A great mind must be androgynous - Coleridge