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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 world…seen from this angle undoubtedly looks queer”: History, Heritage, and the Queer Domesticity of Between the Acts

“The world…seen from this angle undoubtedly looks queer”: History, Heritage, and the Queer Domesticity of Between the Acts

Chapter:
(p.148) “The world…seen from this angle undoubtedly looks queer”: History, Heritage, and the Queer Domesticity of Between the Acts
Source:
Virginia Woolf and Heritage
Author(s):

Mary Wilson

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781942954422.003.0021

The paper reads Woolf’s last work as a queerly domestic novel: centered on the space of Pointz Hall and the history of England and simultaneously decentering the heterosexual romance plot and the British Army, rewriting the English home and English heritage. Woolf crafts her revision by connecting the creative work of Miss La Trobe and Isa Oliver, whose particular expressions turn the queer and queering gaze of the female outsider onto the two faces of domesticity—private and national—and demonstrate their inextricable links to each other. In Three Guineas, Woolf repeatedly describes the queerness of the vantage point available to the daughters of educated men: the view of the world seen through the filter of domesticity, queer in that it renders strange the accepted order of the patriarchal world. Woolf draws together the reluctantly domesticated Isa’s private poetry, hidden in the family accounts book, and the lesbian, quasi-foreign La Trobe’s publicly performed play about English national history to produce a queer revision of domestic inheritance on personal and national levels. Isa’s and La Trobe’s creative efforts and their domestic lives are marked with incompleteness, dissatisfaction, and failure, which suggests that a queerly domestic viewpoint cannot be an end in itself, particularly on the brink of war. But the novel also insists that women’s queering perspectives on domestic life provides a necessary counterpoint to personal and national stories of violence and patriotism.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts, Three Guineas, queer, domesticity, war

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