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Virginia Woolf: Writing the World$
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Pamela L. Caughie and Diana L. Swanson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780990895800

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.001.0001

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“Whose Woods These Are”: Virginia Woolf and the Primeval Forests of the Mind

“Whose Woods These Are”: Virginia Woolf and the Primeval Forests of the Mind

(p.173) “Whose Woods These Are”: Virginia Woolf and the Primeval Forests of the Mind
Virginia Woolf: Writing the World

Elisa Kay Sparks

Liverpool University Press

In many ways the environmental antithesis of gardens—wild instead of cultivated, seemingly infinite rather than contained, places of mystery and loneliness as opposed to sites of conventional courtship—forests have complex metaphorical valences in Virginia Woolf’s novels and essays. While a few basic patterns for forest associations can be mapped, in many cases forests are endowed with a variety of meanings so diverse as to seem to purposefully dissolve preconceived generalities. This paper examines the multifarious uses of the term “forest” in Woolf’s published prose in a counter-phenomenological movement: from exterior extension to inner consciousness, collating glimpses of associations without attempting to impose any nefarious allegorical system.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts, Jacobs Room, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Voyage Out, The Waves, Women and Fiction, Garden, Forest, Wildness

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