‘On or About December 1930: Gender and the Writing of Lives in Virginia Woolf’
279 - 288 (10)
Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
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This article examines some important historical, literary, and theoretical questions that are posed by the idea of “writing a life” in the early years of the twentieth century. Its focus is primarily on the constitutive relations between gender, literature and culture in the work of Virginia Woolf, and it proposes readings of a range of texts that were written by Woolf “on or about December 1930” that engage with questions of life-writing. The texts analysed include Woolf’s novel, The Waves (1931) and Orlando: A Biography (1928). These are read alongside other texts from the same period in which Woolf deploys a first-person voice, including her Diary (for the years around 1930) and a long letter she wrote as a kind of preface to a published collection of letters by working women. Finally, the article also draws on a number of Woolf’s essays to suggest ways in which the problems of writing a life might intersect with other political, historical and literary problems with which she was preoccupied in the early 1930s.