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Contradictory Woolf$
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Derek Ryan and Stella Bolaki

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780983533955

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.001.0001

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“Come buy, come buy”

“Come buy, come buy”

Woolf’s Contradictory Relationship to the Marketplace

(p.186) “Come buy, come buy”
Contradictory Woolf

Kathryn Simpson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Virginia Woolf's contradictory relationship to the literary marketplace by focusing on her anti-Semitism in the short story “The Duchess and the Jeweller” (1938). Woolf is recognized as an artist intent on marketing her wares as a writer and publisher, but this active engagement with the market is in tension with—and contradicted by—the strong distaste for popularity and commercial success which remained a significant factor influencing Woolf's publishing decisions as well as her fictional representations of money-making success. This chapter argues that “The Duchess and the Jeweller” reflects both Woolf's wariness about the “wolfish greed of the commercial world and her own Woolfishly greedy part in it.” It also considers Woolf's stereotypical representation of Jewish identity and her argument that we are all “playing the Jew”—greedily addicted to money and prepared to enter into risky gambles to increase our hoard, whatever the cost.

Keywords:   literary marketplace, anti-Semitism, The Duchess and the Jeweller, Jewish identity, Jew, money

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