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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 Play of Fact and Fiction in Virginia Stephen’s “The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn”

The Play of Fact and Fiction in Virginia Stephen’s “The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn”

Chapter:
(p.190) The Play of Fact and Fiction in Virginia Stephen’s “The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn”
Source:
Virginia Woolf and Heritage
Author(s):

Heidi Stalla

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781942954422.003.0027

Evidence suggests that more of Woolf’s short story, “The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn”, might be based on fact than is apparent. Critics usually point out that this work was written while Woolf stayed at Blo’ Norton Hall in Norfolk in August 1906. However, no one has yet suggested that the story itself may have been inspired by a loose collection of facts that Woolf gleaned either from evidence in the house or through conversations with people in the immediate environs. This paper examines Woolf’s early interest in both heritage and historiography by comparing the material of the short story to contemporary accounts of Blo’ Norton Hall, as well as census records that tell us something about its progression of inhabitants. We are left with new insight into Woolf’s early writing process: we watch her experimenting with the line between fact and fiction in an effort to create a new kind of historical memory about Englishness and the English tradition.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Historiography, History, Creative Nonfiction, Heritage, Manor Houses

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