Virginia Woolf’s Last Words on Words: Between the Acts and ‘Anon’

  • Nora Eisenberg


While writing Between the Acts, her last novel, Virginia Woolf also wrote the essay ‘Anon’, which has never been published and which has received little critical attention.1 Essay and novel, I hope to show, are companion pieces, sharing a single hero and theme. In both, Woolf, with the aid of her hero (La Trobe of the novel, Anon of the essay), imagines an old world in which a communal life flourished free from conventional language, which she thought a male dominion, ruling and often ruining her world.


Communal Life Common Life Conventional Language Ancient Part Companion Piece 
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  1. 2.
    For a discussion of fertility ritual in Between the Acts see Jane Marcus’s ‘Some Sources for Between the Acts’, Virginia Woolf Miscellany Winter 1977;Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    and Judy Little, ‘Festive Comedy in Woolf’s Between the Acts’, Women and Literature, Spring 1977, pp. 26–37.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The Flight of the Mind: The Letters of Virginia Woolf vol. t: 1882 –1912 ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975) p. 144.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Virginia Woolf, ‘Notes on an Elizabethan Play’, Collected Essays 4 vols (London: Hogarth Press, 1966–7) vol. 1, p. 59.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary, ed. Leonard Woolf (New York: New American Library, 1953) p. 96.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Charlotte Walker Mondez, ‘I Need a Little Language’, Virginia Woolf Quarterly Fall 1972, pp. 87–105.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room’ and The Waves’: Two Complete Novels (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1959) p. 381.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Virginia Woolf, The Years (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1937) p. 405. Further references are to this edition, cited as Y.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1941) p. 16. Further references are to this edition, cited as BA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jane Marcus 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora Eisenberg

There are no affiliations available

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