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Virginia Woolf and Heritage$
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Jane deGay, Tom Breckin, and Anne Reus

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954422

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781942954422.001.0001

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“The Very Centre of the Very Centre”: H. A. L. Fisher, Oxford, and “That Great Patriarchal Machine”

“The Very Centre of the Very Centre”: H. A. L. Fisher, Oxford, and “That Great Patriarchal Machine”

Chapter:
(p.10) “The Very Centre of the Very Centre”: H. A. L. Fisher, Oxford, and “That Great Patriarchal Machine”
Source:
Virginia Woolf and Heritage
Author(s):

David Bradshaw

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781942954422.003.0002

David Bradshaw considers Virginia Woolf’s relationship to her cousin Herbert Fisher, at the centre of ‘that great patriarchal machine’ of government and education. Arguing for the need for a more nuanced understanding of Fisher in Woolf studies, Bradshaw demonstrates that Woolf’s often scathing rejection of Fisher’s conservative ideology and late-Victorian Oxford intellectualism misrepresents his political and educational ideals, his strong dislike of war as well as his advocacy for a better state-funded education system. Her well-documented hostility is also accompanied by intimacy and admiration. Bradshaw therefore argues that Woolf’s complex response to Fisher has to be understood in a family context: they were connected by a shared sense of responsibility for their family heritage and he represented the world of her parents to her.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Herbert Fisher, patriarchal society, family heritage

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