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Virginia Woolf and the Natural World$
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Kristin Czarnecki and Carrie Rohman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780983533900

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780983533900.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

“The Bird is the Word”

“The Bird is the Word”

Virginia Woolf and W. H. Hudson, Visionary Ornithologist1

(p.133) “The Bird is the Word”
Virginia Woolf and the Natural World

Diane F. Gillespie

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Woolf's “familiarity with and appreciation” for the work of ornithologist W. H. Hudson (1841–1922). Despite differences in sex and socialization, age and reputation, Hudson and Woolf were kindred spirits. Both had distinctive childhood experiences of non-urban places that reverberate throughout their writing. Both were educated and enthusiastic common readers. Without university degrees or positions, both defined themselves as outsiders—Hudson among academic scientists in an adopted country and Woolf among academic, mostly male, biographers and critics. The chapter uses two of Hudson's books to create cultural contexts for Woolf's writing. When Woolf reviewed Hudson's memoir Far Away and Long Ago: A History of My Early Life in 1918, she linked his interest in birds with his flights of words. In her later fiction, she re-envisioned Hudson's attempt in his bird-filled 1904 novel Green Mansions to express oneness with nature.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, W. H. Hudson, ornithologist, nature, birds, Far Away and Long Ago, Green Mansions

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