Special Author: Woolf [DOCX 360.06KB]

Special Author: Virginia Woolf (Summer Reading List)
Module Description:
This course focuses on the work of one of the best-known writers of the twentieth
century, Virginia Woolf. It aims to deepen your knowledge and understanding of
Woolf’s work, both in its historical context and in terms of the kinds of conceptual
and theoretical questions that her work has been seen to raise. By the end of the
term, we will have read most of Woolf’s novels. We will also have examined her
writing in other genres. This will include her life writing (diaries, letters, and
experiments with biography and autobiography), short stories, and political and
literary essays. Additionally, we will be thinking about her critical reception, the
preconceptions that are brought to her work, and how her life and writing have
been represented.
Summer Reading:
I would encourage you to read as widely as you wish and are able. However, as
the novels are best not read in a rush, I would suggest that over the summer you
familarise yourself with the books listed below if you have not read them already.
Jacob’s Room (1922)
Mrs Dalloway (1925)
To the Lighthouse (1927)
Orlando: A Biography (1928)
The Waves (1931)
Between the Acts (1941)
While not compulsory now (we will read them next term), you may enjoy dipping
into her essays, especially as these may help you to think about the form of the
essay and your essay writing. David Bradshaw’s selection is helpful, but many of
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/woolf/virginia/. Given that there is so much
written about Woolf, you might also be interested in thinking about how Woolf
wrote about herself (in class we will, for instance, be looking at ‘A Sketch of the
Past’ in Moments of Being: Autobiographical Writings, 2002). And of course there
are the other novels – the longer reading list will detail which will be covered in
class. However, the six texts listed above make a good start, and should inspire
some ideas about potential lines for future enquiry.
Module Convenor:
Dr Hope Wolf is a new lecturer at the University of Sussex. Previously she held
research and teaching positions at the University at Cambridge and King’s College
London. Hope’s work tends to focus on the ways in which memories (and other
aspects of people’s lives) are collected, represented and interpreted – a subject
Woolf was extremely eloquent about (as can be seen from her numerous essays
on life writing). Hope has conducted her investigations through readings of both
war writing and representations of place. Her most recent book is an anthology
with novelist Sebastian Faulks, published by Random House: A Broken World:
Letters, Diaries and Memories of the Great War (2014). This includes a section from
Woolf’s essay, ‘Heard on the Downs: the Genesis of Myth’ (1916), which you might
want to look at if you are interested in connections between Woolf and Sussex, as
well as Woolf and war. With Dr Eveline Kilian (Humboldt, Berlin), Hope has also
recently co-edited a collection that intersects autobiographical and biographical
writing with spatial theory: Life Writing and Space (Ashgate, forthcoming 2015).
She is completing a monograph entitled, Anecdotal Violence: Popular Form and
the Great War Archive. In this book she compares modernist with popular or
everyday form (she has written on anecdotes, clichés, jokes and other narrative
miniatures). Articles on First and Second World War writing, and on
representations of contemporary conflicts, are soon to be published in A
Cambridge History of English Autobiography, a Proceedings of the British Academy
volume and Textual Practice. Current and future research projects include a study
provisionally entitled: The Memory Industry: Modernism and the Form of the British
Archive. This explores the relationship between British modernist literature and
archival/curatorial practices. Hope is also writing about the relationship between
literature and measurement, and is interested in how the arts calibrate excess and
think about sufficiency. She is looking forward to bringing her various research
interests to this module on the work of Virginia Woolf.
Email: hew30@cam.ac.uk (until further notice).
Picture: ‘Virginia Woolf First Edition Spines’ (www.ifyoubuildit.com.au).