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Virginia Woolf, Europe, and PeaceVol. 2 Aesthetics and Theory$
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Peter Adkins and Derek Ryan

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781949979374

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781949979374.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

“[A]s if some animal were dying in a slow but exquisite anguish”

“[A]s if some animal were dying in a slow but exquisite anguish”

Glimpses of Animal Trauma in the Work of Woolf

(p.95) Chapter Six “[A]s if some animal were dying in a slow but exquisite anguish”
Virginia Woolf, Europe, and Peace

Jeanne Dubino

Liverpool University Press

Throughout her writing, Woolf includes brief descriptions of the killing, torture and trauma of individual animals: Peggy’s experimentation, presumably on guinea pigs, in The Years; Bob Brinsley pulling the wings off of a fly in “The Introduction”; Macalister’s boy cutting out a piece of a live fish and throwing it back into the water in To the Lighthouse; a kidnapped giant cockatoo shrieking in terror in Flush, and a dog’s flashbacks on witnessing this scene; and Giles stomping on a snake choking on a toad stuck in its mouth in Between the Acts. In these scenes, Woolf highlights animal suffering. By addressing human-animal encounters in the research lab, “pests” in the home, the fishes we eat, the pets we keep and the snakes we meet in a walk, Woolf, as Dubino shows, makes visible the impact of our human presence in the nonhuman animal world. Within these brief glimpses she reminds us of the toll that humanity, but especially patriarchy, as it is inflected by science, capitalism and war, takes on its fellow nonhuman creatures. This essay explores how comprehensively and feelingly Woolf portrays the ways that nonhuman animals suffer and how humans both inflict and perceive that suffering.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, animals, trauma, Moments of Being, patriarchy

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