Virginia Woolf and the Great War /
Karen L. Levenback.
1st ed.
Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 1999.
xvi, 208 p. ; 24 cm.
0815605463 (alk. paper)
More Details
Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 1999.
0815605463 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-196) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-11:
Levenback (George Washington Univ.) has been at the center of the group of scholars who have been analyzing Virginia Woolf's work intensely over the last quarter century. In this well-written and well-researched book, the author takes as her thesis the idea that the Great War profoundly affected Woolf's life, outlook, and artistic creations, although she experienced it as a noncombatant. The author contends that modern scholars have largely ignored the influence of the war on Woolf's work--as seen, for instance, in Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Years, and Three Guineas. Focusing on the "development of . . . Woolf's war-consciousness," the author further argues that "reference to war, in both her personal and formal writings, became significant markers in the study of women's consciousness of war." Levenback augments the book with valuable biographical notes on Woolf's colleagues and contemporaries and with an extensive works cited list that will serve as a working tool for other scholars. But as well done as this volume is, this reviewer questions whether the topic requires a book-length study. Could Levenback have presented her argument more appropriately, and less expensively, in a monographic journal format? Useful to graduate students, researchers, and faculty. R. T. Van Arsdel; University of Puget Sound
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1999
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This study focuses on Virginia Woolf's war consciousness and how her sensitivity to representations of the Great War in the popular press and authorised histories affected the development of characters in all her subsequent writings.
Unpaid Annotation
Virginia Woolf was a civilian, a noncombatant during the Great War. Unlike the war poet Wilfred Owen, she had not seen "God through mud. Yet, although she was remembered by her husband as "the least political animal ... since Aristotle invented the definition", and called "an instinctive pacifist" by Alex Zwerdling, her experience and memory of the war became a touchstone against which life itself was measured.Virginia Woolf and the Great War focuses on Woolf's war consciousness and how her sensitivity to representations of war in the popular press and authorized histories affected both the development of characters in her fiction and her nonfictional and personal writings. As the seamless history of the prewar world had been replaced by the realities of modern war, Woolf herself understood there was no immunity from its ravages, even for civilians.Karen L. Levenback's readings of Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Years, in particular -- together with her understanding of civilian immunity, the operation of memory in the postwar period, and lexical resistance to accurate representations of war -- are profoundly convincing in securing Woolf's position as a war novelist and thinker whose insights and writings anticipate our most current progressive theories on war's social effects and continuing presence
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Myths of War, Illusions of Immunity, Realities of Survivalp. 9
Life and Death, Memory and Denial in Postwar Londonp. 44
The Language of Memory as Time Passesp. 83
Remembering the War in the Years Between the Warsp. 114
Epiloguep. 154
App: Selected Biographical Notesp. 161
Works Citedp. 177
Indexp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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