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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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Contradictions in Autobiography

Contradictions in Autobiography

Virginia Woolf’s Writings on Art

(p.74) Contradictions in Autobiography
Contradictory Woolf

Maggie Humm

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines contradictions in Virginia Woolf's relationship to autobiography by focusing on her accounts of her sister Vanessa Bell's art in autobiographical writings such as “Reminiscences” (1976), and in her “Foreword to Recent Paintings of Vanessa Bell” (1930). In addition to providing representations of Bell's art, the chapter suggests that Woolf's accounts allow her to reveal her developing sense of “being.” Reading Woolf's accounts of art, particularly descriptions of her sister's art, is like reading a palimpsest of her own anxious feelings about self representation. The aesthetic portraits Woolf creates of her sister's art are not only the space of a more embodied response to selfhood, but also the space of a different kind of rhetorical response to autobiography.

Keywords:   autobiography, Vanessa Bell, art, paintings, self representation, selfhood

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