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A Room of One’s Own’s Resistance to Feminist Interpretations

Abstract : Taking into account A Room of One’s Own’s multiple, and often contradictory, feminist readings, this paper analysed by what means Virginia Woolf’s 1929 essay resists feminist interpretations as Woolf’s complex feminist thinking cannot be classified according to most of the standards of the so-called Second and Third Wave feminisms. If Woolf’s reflection on “women and fiction” covers a variety of issues which have been at the centre of feminist and literary debates since the 1970s (such as the material conditions of writing, gender roles and their impacts on literature and the literary canon, and the existence of a specifically female literary tradition), it appears that her treatment of those issues has made her the paradoxical emblem of the divides between feminist literary critics. Thus, socialist feminists reclaimed A Room of One’s Own for its foregrounding of materiality, whereas, at the other end of the feminist spectrum, Difference feminists reclaimed the essay for its treatment of gender identities. However, as Rachel Bowlby underlines in her 1997 work entitled Feminist Destinations and Further Essays: “in A Room of One’s Own [… Woolf] moves through just about all the positions that have been attributed to her as definite stances”. And indeed, it appears that Woolf’s feminist stance in the essay is a highly complex one that encompasses, and perhaps overcomes, antagonistic feminist perspectives. To explain and highlight this idea this paper offered a close reading of the text which payed particular attention to Woolf’s resistance to unequivocal stances and to the poetics and politics of ambiguity which lie at the core of A Room of One’s Own.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01939578
Contributor : Valérie Favre Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 3:38:00 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 7:30:42 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01939578, version 1

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Valérie Favre. A Room of One’s Own’s Resistance to Feminist Interpretations. Feminist Woolf: New Perspectives on Woolf’s Resistance to Feminism, Nicolas Pierre Boileau; Claire Davison, Sep 2017, Aix-en-Provence, France. ⟨halshs-01939578⟩

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