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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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Do Not Feed the birds

Do Not Feed the birds

Night and Day and the Defence of the Realm Act

(p.278) Do Not Feed the birds
Contradictory Woolf

Ian Blyth

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines some of the “darker currents” in Virginia Woolf's 1919 novel Night and Day which reveal the conditions on the home front during World War I. In particular, it considers how Night and Day tackles aspects of the emergency legislation introduced through the “Defence of the Realm Act,” as reflected in all of the surveillance and subterfuge the characters are involved in. It focuses on the three central characters in Night and Day's ménage à cinq who are all, to some extent or other, “outsiders”: Mary Datchett, Ralph Denham and Katharine Hilbery. It suggests that the actions of these three characters are an expression of some form of oblique protest against the war.

Keywords:   protest, Night and Day, World War I, emergency legislation, Defence of the Realm Act, surveillance, subterfuge, characters, outsiders

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