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Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries$
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Julie Vandivere and Megan Hicks

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954088

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781942954088.001.0001

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Who is My Contemporary? Woolf, Mansfield, and Their Servants

Who is My Contemporary? Woolf, Mansfield, and Their Servants

(p.8) Who is My Contemporary? Woolf, Mansfield, and Their Servants
Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries

Mary Wilson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that Virginia Woolf’s female contemporaries include not just fellow writers like Katherine Mansfield but also domestic servants, whose work enables writerly creation. The chapter focuses on representations of domestic servants in Mrs Dalloway and “The Garden Party” and in Woolf’s and Mansfield’s private writings. The chapter compares Woolf’s and Mansfield’s texts to demonstrate different ways of depicting and understanding servant labor and to show the centrality of servants to the form of modernist fiction. It suggests that servants are too often marginalized in analyses of modernist narrative innovation, and argues for a broader examination of the significance of domestic labor to better understand modernist fiction.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Mrs Dalloway, “The Garden Party”, domestic servants, labor, modernist fiction

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