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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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Report to the Memoir Club

Report to the Memoir Club

Scenes from a Colonial Childhood

Chapter:
(p.57) Report to the Memoir Club
Source:
Contradictory Woolf
Author(s):

Marina Warner

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.003.0005

This chapter examines Virginia Woolf's “contrariness” with respect to authority, class, and the British Empire by bringing her into conversation with Voltaire. Woolf 's opening rejoinder, “But, you may say,”, anticipates an unspoken objection, forestalls opposition, and summons an unseen reader or audience, whose thoughts and words she is confident she can know almost before they do. In fiction, the writer projects herself into the minds of her characters and thinks with them, ventriloquizing beyond her own boundaries. In such polemical and confessional writings as A Room of One's Own (1929), someone is lurking at the edge of Woolf's consciousness. To shed light into Woolf's “contrariness,” the chapter describes the background to a piece of work-in-progress, with the working title Inventory of a Life Mislaid, and includes some paragraphs from it.

Keywords:   contrariness, authority, class, British Empire, Voltaire, A Room of One's Own, consciousness

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