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Virginia Woolf : and the women who shaped her world

by Gill, Gillian,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 3 copies
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Northland Public Library Nonfiction 823.912 G41
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  823.912 G41
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An insightful, witty look at Virginia Woolf through the lens of the extraordinary women closest to her .

How did Adeline Virginia Stephen become the great writer Virginia Woolf? Acclaimed biographer Gillian Gill tells the stories of the women whose legacies--of strength, style, and creativity--shaped Woolf's path to the radical writing that inspires so many today.

Gill casts back to Woolf's French-Anglo-Indian maternal great-grandmother Thérèse de L'Etang, an outsider to English culture whose beauty passed powerfully down the female line; and to Woolf's aunt Anne Thackeray Ritchie, who gave Woolf her first vision of a successful female writer. Yet it was the women in her own family circle who had the most complex and lasting effect on Woolf. Her mother, Julia, and sisters Stella, Laura, and Vanessa were all, like Woolf herself, but in markedly different ways, warped by the male-dominated household they lived in. Finally, Gill shifts the lens onto the famous Bloomsbury group. This, Gill convinces, is where Woolf called upon the legacy of the women who shaped her to transform a group of men--united in their love for one another and their disregard for women--into a society in which Woolf ultimately found her freedom and her voice.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this often overly speculative book, Gill (We Too, Nightingales) places Virgina Woolf within the context of the women in her life and, particularly, in her family. Gill traces Woolf's connection to imperial India--her mother, Julia Jackson Stephen, was born there--and to "Pattledom," a legendary artistic and literary salon of the 1850s founded by her great-aunts, including pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. From there Gill moves to the deeply dysfunctional family environment in which Woolf grew up, and to the Bloomsbury set with which she became associated. Gill's writing is lively, pinpointing the amusing, sometimes salacious, and ultimately damaging aspects of Woolf's multiple worlds. She does climb out on some speculative limbs. Yes, as Gill speculates, the troubles of Woolf's mentally challenged half-sister, Laura, might have been exacerbated by incestuous advances from their half-brother, George--with whom Woolf had her own sexual encounter--but, even as Gill notes, there is no evidence for this. Similarly, Gill suggests that the family preserved no images of Woolf's great-great-grandmother, Thérèse Josephe Blin de Grincourt, because of her reportedly Bengali ancestry. Woolf fans will be entertained, but left feeling, uneasily, that this rollicking story perhaps contains an overflow of conjecture and opinion, and too few hard facts. (Dec.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Woolf, Virginia, -- 1882-1941 -- Friends and associates.
Woolf, Virginia, -- 1882-1941 -- Family.
Literary criticism.
Publisher Boston :2019
Language English
Description xxiv, 408 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 356-397) and index.
ISBN 9781328683953
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