Virginia Woolf-ophobia

I admit it. I’ve never read any Virginia Woolf up until now. Professor Damrosch, who teaches my Major British Writers class that I am taking at Harvard, has put To the Lighthouse on the syllabus for tomorrow’s class, so I’m reading Woolf for the first time finally. I think I’ve always been a bit scared of reading her, though I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s her reputation as one of the preeminent woman writers, her style and life so thoroughly examined and well-documented. Woolf, the personality, seems so high-minded that I imagine her thinking I was beneath her notice. I feel like I need Fernham here to read along with me and explain passages.
But I forged ahead and now I’m reading To the Lighthouse and it’s wonderful! It’s full of inner thoughts and there’s a rhythm to reading this book that I can’t get on the subway to and from work. No, this will require sitting down tonight to finish the whole book I think. I’m excited to go to class tomorrow and listen to Damrosch’s insightful comments. After all, I now think Middlemarch, which we finished with in class a few weeks ago, perhaps one of the best books I’ve ever read.

8 thoughts on “Virginia Woolf-ophobia

  1. Sarah Collins Honenberger

    So glad to hear today’s students are excited about Woolf. I just returned from Massachusetts where I spoke to a Smith College class studying Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours as a re-telling. Those students found it eerily linked to their mother’s lives and the current day issues of sexuality, partnerships, and traditional marriage. I was asked to speak as well in another class on Methods of Literary Study about my novel, White Lies. Told in two voices, it follows one mother’s quest for the truth about her vaccine injured baby, and her developing friendship with the female lawyer in her small town who she convinces to take the case to the government compensation court. Women readers today are so smart and willing to explore. It’s exciting to be an author, even with daunting predecessors like Woolf.


  2. Martin Clark

    A little late and off topic, but I like the new format, and I very much enjoyed Mr. Bookdwarf’s review. Nice of you to include him–my wife would never allow me space on her blog.


  3. bookdwarf Post author

    I’ll have some follow up posts soon on both Middlemarch and To the Lighthouse. In short, however, I think it helps that I’m taking a class and reading them. The whole thing has been enlightening.


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