Connecting Woolf’s Feminist Principles Essay

To some Virginia Woolf is a innovator of feminism. to others she is a mere novelist whose plants reflect the place of adult females within a society whose chief discourse was aimed at female right to vote. What is certain is that today Woolf is known more for her literary plants than for her essays on the inequalities between the sexes. Woolf. herself. helped establish the division between her fiction and non-fiction Hagiographas by systematically minimizing her political essays as a agency to money while she referred to her novels as her true life’s work.

Yet. in recent old ages. her two most good known non-fiction plants. A Room of One’s Own ( 1929 ) and Three Guineas ( 1938 ) have been revived by intellectuals and labeled every bit inherently feminist plants. This in bend has lead writers such as Rachel Bowlby to claim that the past reappraisal of Woolf’s work. in which there is a clear limit between the fantasy universe of her novels and the really existent universe of her essays. is in fact misleading.

Bowlby efforts to convey Woolf’s two universes more closely together and in making so supports the claim that the yarn of early feminism is woven non merely through Woolf’s essays but is in actuality deeply ingrained in her literary work. The purpose of this essay is to take Bowlby’s analysis and use it to two of Woolf’s plants. one fiction and the other non-fiction. to find if they are in fact more parallel than one time was thought.

By utilizing Bowlby’s theory to discourse the common traits between the fresh Mrs. Dalloway ( 1925 ) and the essay A Room of One’s Own ( 1929 ) many undeniableconnections will be made. formalizing that within both texts the finding for artistic creative activity and female independency that Woolf so idealized can be found. Bowlby’s Feminist Lens Rachel Bowlby in her essay ‘A More than Maternal Tie’ : Woolf as a Woman Essayist ( 1997 ) efforts to qualify Woolf as an early women’s rightist author. By associating Woolf’s essays with her literary plant she refutes the sentiments of those intellectuals who see Woolf’s novels as quintessentially non-feminist.

For Bowlby Woolf inquiries the patriarchical construction of society at the clip in all of her signifiers of composing. Although the writer does profess that there is a line to be drawn between the two. In her essay Bowlby makes clear first and foremost that Woolf marked her differing attitudes between her two plants in multiple mercantile establishments. some of which were personal letters and correspondence. In fact. Bowlby claims that upon a first glimpse Virginia Wolf the litterateur and Virginia Woolf the celebrated novelist appear to hold small in common.

She states that. “One is a cardinal figure in the history of modernism. the other was chiefly a journalist. working to committees for weeklies and other periodicals. One wrote for art. the other ( much of the clip ) for money. One is ‘ Virginia Woolf’ . the other frequently published anonymously. in her many reappraisals for The Times Literary Supplement” ( 220 ) . Woolf on legion occasions referred to her essays as less of import than her novels. which she frequently referred to as her life’s work ( Bowlby. 1997. 220 ) .

Most significantly Woolf asserted on assorted chances that political statements were good founded in journalistic authorship but out of topographic point in literature ( Bowlby. 221 ) . Despite this grounds Bowlby notes that Woolf’s composing manner in both her essays and her novels shared assorted traits including the construction. changeless divergences from the subject and the passionate undertone of the composing itself ( 222 ) . Although she is speedy to observe that we should non “rush to the other extreme. and claim for the essays artistic value equal or superior to that of the novels” ( Bowlby. 224 )

Apart from stylistic considerations Bowlby besides notes other common traits most specifically Woolf’s captivation with literary ties. Central to Woolf’s novels are the ties that bind her characters together. whether they be societal or household ties. Within her essays you can happen similar ties. The most obvious of those presented in Woolf’s essays are the ties between author and frequenter. Woolf uses the analogy of the relationship between female parent and kid to outdo describe the importance that a frequenter has for their author ( Bowlby. 224 ) .

Woolf besides likened the relationship to that of twins claiming that it was a type of relationship that meant. “’one deceasing if the other dies. one flourishing if the other flourishes’” ( qtd Bowlby. 224 ) . Bowlby concludes that. Woolf. “among others. was interested in what sorts of connexions might bind things and people together in new ways. Her essays. like her novels. seek some out” ( 241 ) . Woolf besides made a strong paternal connexion between her essay authorship and the relationship with her male parent. Leslie Stephen.

After her father’s decease in 1904 Woolf. to a big extent carried on with his essay authorship. publication within a short clip an article in a spiritual newspaper. The Guardian. Bowlby claims that Woolf saw the essay along paternal lines ( 228 ) . She claims that. “If novels. as opposed to non-fiction. look to be the country where Woolf more freely departed from paternal criterions of authorship. this is related besides to the fact that the essay was her father’s genre: a ‘man of letters’ par excellence. Leslie Stephen did non compose ‘creative’ literature” ( 233 ) . This may hold been a ground for which Woolf so clearly demarcated between the two.

In fact we could claim that Woolf wrote her essays with patriarchate and maleness taking the head. while in her novels they were simply the ubiquitous background to the feminine universe she wrote within. Mrs. Dalloway Needed a Room of Her Own: Testing Bowlby While Bowlby provides ample illustrations of Woolf’s composing to endorse up her thesis the farther probe of two of Woolf’s most celebrated texts. Mrs. Dalloway ( 1924 ) and A Room of One’s Own ( 1929 ) will function to foreground some of the feminist traits shared in her essays and her literary plant.

A Room of One’s Own highlights the place of adult females authors and intellectuals within a system where work forces held the purse strings of instruction. The essay is based on Woolf’s talks at the women’s college of Cambridge University in 1928 and adult female creative persons and their fiscal battle are at the nucleus of the essay. Woolf inquiries whether it is possible for a adult female to bring forth a quality of art every bit high as Shakespear’s. She contends that the limited fiscal agencies of adult females creative persons are to fault for women’s hapless artistic record throughout history.

In fact Woolf placed such importance on fiscal independency and adult females holding a room of their ain that she wrote. “of the two-the ballot and the money-the money. I own. seemed boundlessly more important” ( Woolf. 1929. 37 ) . At the bosom of the essay is the belief that the artistic inclinations in adult females are every bit strong as they are in work forces. Given the right atmosphere they can merely boom. We can see this untapped potency in Mrs. Dalloway whose love of life and art are invariably referred to in the novel.

The very nature of Clarissa’s societal assemblages present the divergence of her artistic nature into acceptable chases. Littleton ( 1995 ) claims that Clarissa’s prowess are cardinal to understanding her character. He states that. “Woolf is concerned. before anything else. with the perfectly private mental universe of a adult female who. harmonizing to the patriarchal political orientation of the twenty-four hours every bit good as her ain figure in the universe. was non imagined to hold any artistic feeling at all” ( 37 ) . Clarissa’s really enjoyment of the universe around her shows her artistic esthesia.

At the gap of the fresh Clarissa goes to purchase flowers and her intense enjoyment of the busy universe around her shows a esthesia to life in all its signifiers ( Woolf. 1924. 4 ) . Her annoyance for Miss Kilman is immediately forgotten as she enters the flower store and appreciates the beauty. aromas and colourss around her ( 13 ) . It was plenty to. “surmount that hatred. that monster. overcome it all ; and it lifted her up and up” ( 13 ) . It would be utile to utilize a quotation mark from A Room of One’s Own to depict what is go oning to Clarissa: “Who can mensurate the heat and passion of a poet’s bosom when it is caught and tangled in a woman’s organic structure?

” ( 83 ) . Indeed. to Woolf. Clarissa is an creative person in her ain mode and her natural artistic intuition can non be smothered by societies outlooks. Nutriment of the female creative person. or the deficiency at that place of. is clearly present in Woolf’s literary and non-literary plants. While Clarissa’s proper artistic aspirations are good nourished in her organisation of societal assemblages where delightful nutrient is in copiousness it is interesting to observe that the physical nutriment given to female intellectuals at female colleges is commented upon in Woolf’s essay.

Upon depicting the hapless menu at female colleges Woolf asks. “Why did work forces imbibe vino and adult females H2O? Why was one sex so comfortable and the other so hapless? ” ( 25 ) . The possibility and the danger of a reversal of the sexes is apparent in the relationship between Clarissa and Septimus Smith. While Clarissa does the unacceptable and does non demo her heartache as is expected in a adult female. Septimus takes on clearly feminine traits of the clip and lets his heartache overwhelm him. finally perpetrating self-destruction. whereby the physician chastises him for being a “coward” ( 105 ) .

Woolf clearly shows the possibilities of a female pickings on a masculine trait. thereby demoing the possibility of a reversal of functions. As Septimus hallucinates on his dead friend he is reduced to cryings and great emotion in his bereavement. He raises his manus. “like some prodigious figure who has lamented the destiny of adult male for ages in the desert entirely. . . and with hosts of work forces prostrate behind him he. the elephantine griever. receives for one minute on his face the whole” ( 105 ) . These types of emotions were more suitable to female mourning back uping Woolf’s position that the functions of work forces and adult females within society could be crossed over.