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By Maria DiBattista

The place different works of literary feedback are absorbed with the question--How to learn a book?--Imagining Virginia Woolf asks a marginally varied yet extra exciting one: how does one learn an writer? Maria DiBattista solutions this by way of venture an scan in serious biography. the topic of this paintings isn't really Virginia Woolf, the individual that wrote the novels, feedback, letters, and well-known diary, yet a distinct being altogether, an individual or whatever Maria DiBattista identifies as "the figment of the author." this can be the Virginia Woolf who lives intermittently within the pages of her writings and within the mind's eye of her readers. Drawing on Woolf's personal wide comments at the pleasures and perils of interpreting, DiBattista argues that interpreting Woolf, in reality studying any writer, comprises an come across with this innovative figment, whose precise, stylistic characteristics mix to provide that beguiling phantom--the literary character. DiBattista finds a author who possessed now not a unmarried character, yet a cluster of designated, but complementary identities: the Sibyl of Bloomsbury, the writer, the Critic, the area author, and the Adventurer, the final of which, DiBattista claims, unites all of them. Imagining Virginia Woolf presents an unique manner of studying, one who captures with sort and subtlety the character that exists simply in Woolf's works and within the minds of her readers.

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Her disinclination to scale the heights of argument may also represent the reluctance of a young woman to speak before she has found her public voice. One last explanation: Woolf may think it easier to evoke the excitement of those Thursday evenings from the point of view of the young, unproven novelist (in this case, herself) beginning to discover her human subject and her relation toward it. It is the novelist, then, as much as the memoirist who chose not to reproduce the talk she heard, but to revisit instead her first vivid impressions of those who held forth on those Thursday evenings.

30 Neither sagacity nor innocence is suggested by Woolf's most searching and sardonic novelistic portrait of the "perfect hostess," as Peter Walsh sneeringly calls the worldly Clarissa Dalloway. Clarissa is at first dismayed by the epithet, but ultimately embraces it as a creditable, even noble office: Oh, it was very queer. Here was So-and-so in South Kensington; some one up in Bayswater; and some else, say, in Mayfair. And she felt quite 54 continuously a sense of their existence; and she felt what a waste; and she felt what a pity; and she felt if only they could be bought together; so she did it.

She dramatizes and exploits Phyllis’s equally shrewd if more partial judgment of character in the concluding episode, a visit the sisters pay to the Tristrams. The Tristrams are a family that regards love not as “something induced by certain calculated actions” but as “a robust, ingenuous thing which stood out in the daylight, naked and solid, to be tapped and scrutinized as you thought best” (SF, 2526). The family name is worth pausing over. Like Joyce’s choice of Dedalus as the name of his young fictional alterego, Tristram seems at once symbol and prophecy of Woolf’s nascent artistic identity.

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