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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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Woolf, Yeats, and the Making of “Spilt Milk”

Woolf, Yeats, and the Making of “Spilt Milk”

(p.265) Woolf, Yeats, and the Making of “Spilt Milk”
Contradictory Woolf

Wayne K. Chapman

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Virginia Woolf's relationship to poetry by focusing on her encounter with W. B. Yeats at Lady Ottoline Morrell's in November 1930. Drawing on unpublished material by Yeats alongside Woolf's diary entries and letters recounting their meeting, the chapter contextualizes the conversation that led Yeats to write “Spilt Milk,” a poem that opens with a “We” which refers to Yeats, Morrell, Walter de la Mare, and Woolf. “Spilt Milk” epitomizes Yeats's own sense of his side of a performance. Not to cry over spilt milk is an idiom that may have nothing to do with ear trumpets though perhaps with shared admiration for Ottoline Morrell that other people miss, as Woolf said, when confronted by her more “obvious tortuousness and hypocrisy”.

Keywords:   poetry, W. B. Yeats, Ottoline Morrell, Spilt Milk, Walter de la Mare

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