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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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Radical Hope as Protest

Radical Hope as Protest

Virginia Woolf’s Everyday Feminism

(p.237) Chapter Fifteen Radical Hope as Protest
Virginia Woolf, Europe, and Peace

Stanislava Dikova

Liverpool University Press

Virginia Woolf’s pacifist commitments prevented her from fully endorsing militant political protest as a productive strategy for emancipation. This orientation is grounded in her belief that violence preserves the ideological structures of oppression and fails to achieve real and positive social change. Instead, her thought and writing explore alternative modes of agency as outlets for more radical emancipatory possibilities. Through a reading of The Years (1937), a historical novel written under the threat of an impending Second World War, this essay traces Woolf’s enquiry into the mechanisms of patriarchal state oppression and the everyday sites, practices, and encounters through which it operates. Using Sara Pargiter as a case study, it probes Woolf’s assertion that women’s status as outsiders is the entry point through which dominant power relations can be challenged and new forms of social freedom negotiated. Building on José Esteban Muñoz’s concepts of “queer futurity”, with its attendant notions of critical idealism, utopia and hope, it argues that Woolf’s everyday pacifist-feminist aesthetic is significant for formulating a future-oriented critique of institutional practices of control over bodies and agents who do not conform to normative standards of personhood.

Keywords:   Modernist Women, Feminism, Utopia, Queer Futurity, Everyday Theory, Agency, Pacifism

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