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Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader$
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Helen Wussow and Mary Ann Gillies

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082679.001.0001

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Virginia Woolf in the British Commonwealth

Virginia Woolf in the British Commonwealth

(p.65) Virginia Woolf in the British Commonwealth
Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader

Sonita Sarker

Liverpool University Press

This chapter considers three aspects that arise from the conference theme, “Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader”—Woolf and the British Commonwealth; Woolf's Common Readers (published in 1925 and 1932); and the common, “ordinary” woman or man reading inside and outside the British Commonwealth, in her times and our own. These three aspects are not interchangeable nor equivalent nor synchronous with each other. These incommensurabilities inflect Woolf's position as both insider and outsider, particularly to the nation-state construct indicated in statements such as the Balfour Declaration and in her own Three Guineas (1938). In the context of Woolf's entire oeuvre, the two Common Readers reveal the simultaneous existence of her privilege in some aspects and marginalization in others. This simultaneity makes it possible for Woolf to claim a cultural-national belonging even as she opposes a statist-nationalist position that she identifies with jingoist masculinism in the later Three Guineas.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, British Commonwealth, Common Readers, Three Guineas

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