Imagining Virginia Woolf: An experiment in critical biography

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Where other works of literary criticism are absorbed with the question--How to read a book?--Imagining Virginia Woolfasks a slightly different but more intriguing one: how does one read an author? Maria DiBattista answers this by undertaking an experiment in critical biography. The subject of this work is not Virginia Woolf, the person who wrote the novels, criticism, letters, and famous diary, but a different being altogether, someone or something Maria DiBattista identifies as "the figment of the author." This is the Virginia Woolf who lives intermittently in the pages of her writings and in the imagination of her readers. Drawing on Woolf's own extensive remarks on the pleasures and perils of reading, DiBattista argues that reading Woolf, in fact reading any author, involves an encounter with this imaginative figment, whose distinct, stylistic traits combine to produce that beguiling phantom--the literary personality. DiBattista reveals a writer who possessed not a single personality, but a cluster of distinct, yet complementary identities: the Sibyl of Bloomsbury, the Author, the Critic, the World Writer, and the Adventurer, the last of which, DiBattista claims, unites them all.

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherPrinceton University Press
ISBN (Print)9780691138121
StatePublished - Dec 29 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities

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