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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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Who’s Behind the Curtain? Virginia Woolf, “Nurse Lugton’s Golden Thimble,” and the Anxiety of Authorship

Who’s Behind the Curtain? Virginia Woolf, “Nurse Lugton’s Golden Thimble,” and the Anxiety of Authorship

Chapter:
(p.222) Who’s Behind the Curtain? Virginia Woolf, “Nurse Lugton’s Golden Thimble,” and the Anxiety of Authorship
Source:
Contradictory Woolf
Author(s):

Kristin Czarnecki

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.003.0028

This chapter examines Virginia Woolf's “anxieties about authorship” by offering a reading of her children's story “Nurse Lugton's Golden Thimble” (1966). Nurse Lugton is not only a benevolent old governess but also an “ogress” who terrifies the creatures “in her toils.” The animals in the story are free to roam only when their captor sleeps; the story reflects concerns raised by Woolf throughout her writing regarding pressures unique to female writers. Nurse Lugton's shifting titles and audience reception also afford such a reading as well as insights into persistent stereotypes of Woolf in contemporary culture. The chapter also places Woolf in dialogue with influential essays by Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes in order to stress the importance of returning to the text rather than author, the creation rather than creator.

Keywords:   authorship, children's story, Nurse Lugton's Golden Thimble, stereotypes, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, text, author, creation

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