Virginia Woolf

Category: Education

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A presentation by Alessamdro Melini, Franceca Pasquini,Federico Romda. Valentina Solustri


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Presentation Transcript



Biography : 

Biography Virginia Woolf was born on 25 January 1882 in a house at number 22 Hyde Park Gate by Sir Leslie and Julia Princep STEPHEN. Her father was already an eminent Victorian man of letters, so she grew up in a literary and intellectual atmosphere and her education came from private Greek lessons and, above all from her father’s library, where she read whatever she liked. She spent her summers at St Ives at “Talland House”; the house and the sea remained central to her art, figuring in the setting of some her novels. The death of her mother in 1895, when Virginia was only thirteen, affected her deeply and brought about her first nervous breakdown.

Biography : 

Biography After the father died in 1904 together her sister Vanessa and her brother Thoby decided to move to the “light and hair” of Bloomsbury, where Thoby in 1905 began holding Thursday evenings at home with his Cambridge friends Clive Bell, Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey: this was the beginning of what came be called “Bloomsbury Group”. In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf and in the 1915 published The Voyage Out, her first novel. Becoming haunted by the terror of losing her mind, chose the only possible death for her, “death by water”, and drowned herself in the river Ouse.

Works : 

Works The Voyage Out (1915): tells the story through South America of a rich woman, Rachel Vinrage, her love story with Terence Hewett and his sudden death due to a tropical fever, when she believes that she has reached happiness. Night and Day (1919): critical towards society, the plot focuses on two women, sweet Katherine Hilbert and emancipated Mary Datchet. Jacob’s Room (1922): tells of a young student at the University of Cambridge, his loves and his journeys in France and Greece ad of his death during the world war I. Mrs Dalloway (1925): the story begins and ends in a span of 12 hours, during which Mrs Dalloway prepares a party. To The Light House (1927): tells the excursion of a group of characters to one of the Hebrides islands. The landscape is the bond that unites the characters among themselves and with landscape itself.

Works : 

Works Orlando (1928): is a sort of biography of Victoria Sackville-West. In the book are told the reincarnations of the protagonist Orlando (that at some point changes sex) in various historical periods, the vicissitudes of the Sackville-West family from the Elizabethan age to the present. The Waves (1931): a kind of poem in prose, where the impressions of some characters, are presented through a series of monologues. The Years (1937): marks a partial return to traditional storytelling techniques. Narrates the story of a generation and their vision of life. Between the Acts (1941): reveals as the most poetic of the writer’s novels, which seeks an appropriate narrative form for years to attempt to faithfully express their world and changing perceptions. The book lacks a proper conclusion.


A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN “ Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. Women, then, have not had a dog's chance of writing poetry. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one's own ” The main theme is t FEMINISM


The title anticipates the first interpretation of the problem which Woolf develops through book. In fact women have never had a room to study, read or just think. For Woolf fundamental to be an independent woman is the room and 500 pounds a year The extract about Shakespeare and his talented sister: Woolf wants to show that, there are different opportunities offered to women and men and the choice involves different effects according to the fact that you are a woman or a man. A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN


A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN Woolf considers writing fundamental to her existence and she thinks that to be an artist means to have a perfect combination of masculine and feminine qualities, so she tries to solve the problem by adopting two different styles: one for her pieces of criticism and essays, which were clear, logical, concise ,”masculine”; the other one for her works of imagination, which were poetic, clear, transparent, flexible, rhythmic, ”femminine”.


A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN She has tried all her life to combine the male and the female into an androgynous mind: calm, stable, not touched by the consciousness of sex, but she realizes that this idea is utopian because it represents an escape from the confrontation with femaleness and maleness… “Who can measure the fervor and violence of the heart of a poet when taken and remains trapped in a body of a woman?


TO THE LIGHTHOUSE The novel is highly autobiographical. It is based on her childhood recollections of holidays in Cornwall, which becomes an isle in the Hebrides in the novel. There are close links between Virginia’s chidlhood and the Lighthouse Mr & Mrs Ramsay and their relationship  Virginia’s own father and mother Premature Death of Mrs Ramsay  death of her mom Death of one of Ramsay children in war  death of Victoria’s own brother She writes this novel prompted by a deep psychological urge to distance herself from obsession of her childhood memories .Memories element in the novel, however, are transformed and take on a symbolical and universal values.

It’s in the centre of the novel and has a symbolic rule: its alternation of light and darkness represents the contradictory aspects of life. In fact, as the sea, it reflects – in the first part - the situation of happiness and enjoyment of the character. Then-in the second one- the destructive aspects symbolizes the pain of the family. The lighthouse

Interior Monologue : 

Interior Monologue Interior monologue is often confused with Stream of Consciousness but the former is the verbal expression of a psychic phenomenon. It’s distinguished by immediacy  Immediate speech is freed from introductory expressions like “he thought, he remembered, he said..”, from formal structures and from logical and chronological order. Interior monologue in the “To the Lighthouse” is characterised by: The narrator is present within the narration; The character stays fixed in space while his-her consciousness moves freely in time.

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Interior monologue Verbal expression of a psychic phenomen Immediate speech without introductory expressions Action takes place within the character’s mind Lack of chronological order Narrator present

Mrs Dalloway and Modernism : 

Mrs Dalloway and Modernism Feminism As a commentary on inter-war society, Clarissa's character highlights the role of women as the proverbial "Angel in the House" and embodies both sexual and economic repression. She keeps up with and even embraces the social expectations of the wife of a politician, but she is still able to express herself in the parties she throws. Sally Seton, who Clarissa admires dearly, is remembered as a great independent woman: she smoked cigars, once ran down a corridor naked to fetch her sponge-bag, and made bold, unladylike statements to get a reaction from people. When Clarissa meets her in the present day, she turns out to be a perfect housewife, having married a rich man and had five sons

Mrs Dalloway : 

Mrs Dalloway Homosexuality Clarissa Dalloway was strongly attracted to Sally at Bourton -- twenty years later, she still considers the kiss they shared to be the happiest moment of her life. She feels about women "as men feel“ but she does not recognize these feelings as signs of homosexuality. She and Sally fell a little behind. Then came the most exquisite moment of her whole life passing a stone urn with flowers in it Sally stopped; picked a flower; kiss her on the lips. The whole world might have turned upside down! The others disappeared; there she was alone with Sally. And she felt that she had been given a present, wrapped up, and told just to keep it, not to look at it - a diamond, something infinitely precious, wrapped up, which, as they walked (up and down, up and down), she uncovered, or the radiance burnt through, the revelation, the religious feeling! (Woolf, 36

Mrs Dalloway : 

Mrs Dalloway Mental illness Septimus, as the shell-shocked war hero, operates as a pointed criticism of the treatment of insanity and depression. Woolf lashes out at the medical discourse through Septimus's decline and ultimate suicide: his doctors make snap judgments about his condition, talk to him mainly through his wife, and dismiss his urgent confessions before he can make them. Similarities in Septimus's condition to Woolf's own struggles with manic depression (they both hallucinate that birds sing in Greek, and Woolf once attempted to throw herself out of a window as Septimus finally does) lead many to read a strongly auto-biographical aspect into Septimus's character. Woolf eventually committed suicide by drowning

Mrs Dalloway : 

Mrs Dalloway Existential issues When Peter Walsh sees a girl in the street and stalks her for half an hour, he notes that his relationship to the girl was "made up, as one makes up the better part of life." By focusing on character's thoughts and perceptions, Woolf emphasizes the significance of private thoughts, rather than concrete events, in a person's life. Most of the plot points in Mrs. Dalloway are realizations that the characters make in their own heads. Fueled by her bout of ill health, Clarissa Dalloway is emphasized as a woman who appreciates life. Her love of party-throwing comes from a desire to bring people together and create happy moments. Her charm, according to Peter Walsh who loves her, is a sense of joie de vivre, always summarized by the sentence, "There she was." She interprets Septimus Smith's death as an act of embracing life, and her mood remains light even when she figures out her marriage is a lie.

Orlando and Modernism : 

Orlando and Modernism TRANSLATION OF LIFE INTO LITERATURE: the life of a writer which is the story of writing; the turning of life into text and vice versa, which characterises biography in general; the problem of literary representation , which tries to turn world into word. TRANSFORMATION: oscillation from one state of being another, in stases of flux and repetition. She links forms and concepts of subjectivity to historical periods and explores the relationship between durable and mutable selves. ANDROGYNY: the sexual ideal is a combination of male and female attributes which are known and given from the start. DEPTH OF UNCONSCIOUS: Orlando lives through the centuries but never contains the totality of time. The self is composed not only of multiple identities but of multiple temporalities, and the existence of the unconscious suggests a continuity of identity through time.

Slide 19: 

THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION Melini Alessandro Pasquini Francesca Ronda Federico Solustri Valentina

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