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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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“Peace was the third emotion”

“Peace was the third emotion”

Tripartite Balance in Between the Acts

(p.161) Chapter Ten “Peace was the third emotion”
Virginia Woolf, Europe, and Peace

Rachel Crossland

Liverpool University Press

In this essay Crossland explores Woolf’s writing of threes in Between the Acts, the title of which itself places emphasis on the three intervals between the acts of its central pageant. Both the number three and triple repetitions of specific words are prevalent across this text, while Woolf often provides strings of three words, such as the ‘orts, scraps and fragments’ summing up the pageant. Woolf also describes ‘Peace’ as ‘the third emotion’, joining with ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ to ‘ma[ke] the ply of human life’. Although ‘Love. Hate. Peace’ only appear explicitly together once in the final novel, Crossland examines Woolf’s typescript revisions and argues that, by focusing on the novel’s tripartite structure, it is possible to read peace into certain other moments, in particular the end of the book in the form of both silence and sleep. By reading Woolf’s final novel through complementarity structures that go beyond dualities, Crossland shows how Woolf was able to writer a book with a ‘triple melody’ at its centre.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Physics, Complementarity, Ambivalence, Psychiatry, Threes

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