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Virginia Woolf: Writing the World$
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Pamela L. Caughie and Diana L. Swanson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780990895800

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2017

An Estranged Intimacy with the World: The Postcolonial Woolf’s Planetary Love in The Voyage Out

An Estranged Intimacy with the World: The Postcolonial Woolf’s Planetary Love in The Voyage Out

Chapter:
(p.116) An Estranged Intimacy with the World: The Postcolonial Woolf’s Planetary Love in The Voyage Out
Source:
Virginia Woolf: Writing the World
Author(s):

Alan Chih-chien Hsieh

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.003.0015

As evidenced by an increasing body of Woolf scholarship on the relationship between Woolf and British cultural imperialism, (post/anti)coloniality is essential to the cultural politics of Woolf criticism. The term “postcolonial Woolf” elicits not only an estrangement or an intimacy but an “estranged intimacy” that foregrounds a tension in this unusual combination. Building upon this “estranged intimacy” evoked by the term “postcolonial Woolf,” this essay focuses on Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out (1915). It argues that the protagonist Rachel’s reading and exploration of life embody an “estranged intimacy with the world” that informs an ethical imagination of our being-in-the-world and an ethical reading of others that can be set against a narrative of triumphalism in this explicitly “colonial” novel. The goal of this essay is to open up new possibilities of reading Woolf through a postcolonial lens in response to the recent call for an ethical (re)turn in postcolonial studies.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, Postcolonial, Imperialism, Ethical return, Bildung

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