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Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual, and the Public Sphere

Details

  • Page extent: 248 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.37 kg

Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521035385)

Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual, and the Public Sphere relates Woolf's literary reviews and essays to early twentieth-century debates about the value of 'highbrow' culture, the methods of instruction in universities and adult education, and the importance of an educated public for the realization of democratic goals. By focusing on Woolf's theories and practice of reading, Melba Cuddy-Keane refutes assumptions about Woolf's modernist elitism, revealing instead a writer who was pedagogically oriented, publicly engaged and committed to the ideal of classless intellectuals working together in reciprocal exchange. Woolf emerges as a stimulating theorist of the unconscious, of dialogic reading, of historicist criticism and of value judgments, while her theoretically informed but accessible prose challenges us to reflect on academic writing today. Combining a wealth of historical detail with a penetrating analysis of Woolf's essays, this 2003 study will alter our views of Woolf, of modernism and of intellectual work.

• Provides insights into Virginia Woolf as a publicly engaged writer challenging notions of modernist intellectual's aloofness from the public sphere • Examines documents including radio broadcasts, periodicals and newspapers, and materials on the history of books and publishing • Written in a clear and accessible style

Contents

Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; Introduction: a wider sphere; Part I. Cultural Contexts: 1. Democratic highbrow: Woolf and the classless intellectual; 2. Woolf, English studies and the making of the (new) common reader; Part II. Critical Practice: 3. Woolf and the theory and pedagogy of reading; Postscript: intellectual work today; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Reviews

'… the book is highly recommended as a welcome addition to Woolfian scholarship.' Cercles

'Cuddy-Keane's book should be required reading for anyone interested in the intellectual and cultural history of modernism. … Cuddy-Keane is always stimulating and thoughtful …' Modernism/Modernity

'Only rarely does a book appear which suddenly and single-handedly reworks the critical terrain. Melba Cuddy-Keane's Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual and the Public Sphere is such a book. … thoughtful, illuminating … This book is an outstanding piece of scholarship: original, provocative, historically and theoretically grounded. Cuddy-Keane moves seamlessly between abstract concepts and the specifics of individual texts; her argument never seems forced. … Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual and the Public Sphere will have wide and lasting currency in Woolf studies.' Yearbook of English Studies

'This book takes us further as critics of Woolf in its injunction to read Woolf's criticism within the development of a modernist history of ideas. Cuddy-Keane's overarching insight that Woolf's essays teach us, not only through their content but through their rhetorical strategies, to read and to think outside authoritative parameters emphasizes once again the subtle complexity of this modernist writer.' Georgia Johnston, Saint Louis University

'Melba Cuddy-Keane's outstanding Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual and the Public Sphere puts to rest any lingering doubts about the significance of Woolf's criticism by delineating a new context in which to read it … elegantly argued … This is an important book, a smart book, and a well-written book.' Woolf Studies Annual

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