Virginia Woolf and Poetry

ISBN : 9780198850861

Emily Kopley
400 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Aug 2020
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Virginia Woolf's career was shaped by her impression of the conflict between poetry and the novel, a conflict she often figured as one between masculine and feminine, old and new, bound and free. In large part for feminist reasons, Woolf promoted the triumph of the novel over poetry, even as she adapted some of poetry's techniques for the novel in order to portray the inner life. Woolf considered poetry the rival form to the novel. A monograph on Woolf's sense of genre rivalry thus offers a thorough reinterpretation of the motivations and aims of her canonical work. Drawing on unpublished archival material and little-known publications, the book combines biography, book history, formal analysis, genetic criticism, source study, and feminist literary history. Woolf's attitude towards poetry is framed within contexts of wide scholarly interest: the decline of the lyric poem, the rise of the novel, the gendered associations with these two genres, elegy in prose and verse, and the history of English Studies. Virginia Woolf and Poetry makes three important contributions. It clarifies a major prompt for Woolf's poetic prose. It exposes the genre rivalry that was creatively generative to many modernist writers. And it details how holding an ideology of a genre can shape literary debates and aesthetics.


1 'The Author disdained poetry': Virginia Stephen's Resistance to Poetry
2 'why is poetry wholly an elderly taste?': Virginia Woolf's Embrace of Poetry
3 A Room of One's Own, Woolf's 'little book on poetry'
4 Orlando's Celebration of 'Prose, not Verse'
5 The Waves as 'Saturated' Novel
6 The Male Siskin and his Dear Aunt
7 Woolf and the Thirties Poets
Epilogue: Woolf's Elegies for Poetry

About the author: 

Emily Kopley received her bachelor's degree from Yale University and her doctorate from Stanford University. She is a Research Affiliate in the Department of English at Concordia University and a Lecturer in Jewish Studies at McGill University. Her work on Woolf has appeared inThe Review of English Studies, theTLS, and elsewhere. She is a board member ofWoolf Studies Annual.

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