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Part of the book series: Bernard Shaw and His Contemporaries ((BSC))

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Abstract

Virginia Woolf strongly believed that Western History was constructed around the lives, particularly the battles, of “great men.” Knowing that women’s lives and activities had a place in that history, she constructed the two novels in this chapter to demonstrate the accomplishments of women in both the public and private arenas. The result is Orlando and Between the Acts, whose interior authors both exemplify the “active verb” described by Shaw and their place in the world over time.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Sherron E. Knopp, “If I Saw You,” PMLA, 103, 1 (1988): 25; Angeliki Spiroupoulous, Virginia Woolf, Modernity and History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 77; Victoria Smith, “Ransacking the Language,” Journal of Modern Literature, 29, (2006), 4; Erica L. Johnson, “Giving up the Ghost,” Modern Fiction Studies,5, 1, (2004), 12; and Melanie Micir, The Passion Projects, Modernist Women, Intimate Archives, Unfinished Lives (Princeton University Press: 2019), 7.

  2. 2.

    Anne Olivier Bell, “Introduction,” The Diary of Virginia Woolf, iii, viii.

  3. 3.

    Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf (New York: Vintage Books, 1999), 627, 481.

  4. 4.

    Interestingly, Woolf uses part of this phrase to describe Shaw in her 1920 essay, “Pictures and Portraits,” “Then there is Mr. Bernard Shaw. Gazing from the gallery of some dismal gas-lit hall, one has seen him, often enough, alert, slight, erect, as if combating in his solitary person the forces of inertia and stupidity massed in a sea upon the floor. On a nearer glance, he appeared much of a knight-errant, candid, in deed innocent of aspect; a Don Quixote born in the Northern mists—shrewd, that is to say rather than romantic.” The Essays of Virginia Woolf, ed. Andrew McNeillie (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), iii, 165.All subsequent references to Woolf’s essays will be noted as WE followed by the volume and page numbers.

  5. 5.

    Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, ed. Anne Olivier Bell, assisted by Andrew McNeilie (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), iii, 429. All subsequent references to Woolf’s diaries will be noted as WD, followed by volume and page numbers. Also see “The New Biography,” WE iv, 473.

  6. 6.

    Initially considered inferior to Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, Orlando as a work of art has continued to evolve through the years, just as did its title character. Orlando only joined Woolf’s canon as a serious modernist feminist icon in the 1990s. The advent of LBGTQ studies elevated Woolf’s “biography” to equal modernist standing. For more on Orlando as a modernist novel, see Helen Southworth, Woolf Studies Annual, v.18, (2012):105; and Micir, Projects, 4–5.

  7. 7.

    Elsa Hogberg and Amy Bromley, eds., Sentencing Orlando, Virginia Woolf and the Morphology of the Modernist Sentence (Edinburg University Press, 2018), 5.

  8. 8.

    Beverly Ann Schlack, “Virginia Woolf’s Fiction,” in Jane Marcus, ed. The Feminist Slant (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1983), 61.

  9. 9.

    Celia Marshik, British Modernism and Censorship (Cambridge University Press, 2006), 114.

  10. 10.

    See Knopp, 32; Marshik, 94.

  11. 11.

    Adam Parkes, Modernism and the Theater of Censorship (Oxford University Press: 1996), 19.

  12. 12.

    Virginia Woolf, Orlando 1928 (New York: Harvest Harcourt). Sequent references to this work will be noted as O, followed by the page number.

  13. 13.

    Rachel Blau Du Plessis, “Amor Vin,” in Virginia Woolf, : A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Margaret Homans, 134.

  14. 14.

    Parkes, viii, xi. Also, Hall’s Well was published less than three months before Orlando on 11 October, 1928.

  15. 15.

    See Lee, Virginia Woolf, 483; Victoria L. Smith, “Ransacking the Language,” 5, Knopp, 26.

  16. 16.

    Vita Sackville-West quoted in The Diary of Virginia Woolf, iii, 429.

  17. 17.

    See Rachel Bowlby about Knole and Vita’s exotic history in Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf, (Edinburg: Edinburg University Press, 1997), 154–55, 167; also see Christie Blair, “Gypsies and Lesbian Desire,” Twentieth Century Literature, 5, 2 (2004) on the gypsy elements in Orlando. Bowlby also discusses Vita’s/Orlando’s assumption of identities, 155, as does Nigel Nicolson, Virginia Woolf (New York: Viking, 2000), 107.

  18. 18.

    Nigel Nicolson, Virginia Woolf, 108.

  19. 19.

    Lee, 491, 496.

  20. 20.

    Lee, 496; Quintin Bell, Virginia Woolf in Jacob’s Room1922, ed. Suzanne Raitt (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007), 239.

  21. 21.

    Du Plessis, 131.

  22. 22.

    Erica L. Johnson, “Giving up the Ghost,” 112; Pamela Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism: Literature in Quest and Question of Itself (University of Illinois Press: 1991), 8.

  23. 23.

    For Woolf’s interpretations of the life span, see Micir, 122; for Shaw’s views, see Chap. 3 of this volume.

  24. 24.

    Steven G. Putzel, Virginia Woolf and the Theater (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2012), 100–101. Putzel also names plays seen or read by Woolf including those by Shaw in the body of the book and in chart form in the appendix.

  25. 25.

    Spiropoulou, Virginia Woolf, 79. Sir Leslie also penned biographies of Johnson, Pope, Swift, Hobbs, Henry Fawcett, and his brother Fitzjames Stephen. See Lee, 70.

  26. 26.

    Woolf’s spelling has been maintained throughout.

  27. 27.

    See Jane DeGay, “Virginia Woolf’s Feminist Historiography in Orlando,” Critical Survey, 19, 1 (2007), 64.

  28. 28.

    Ibid.

  29. 29.

    See Michael H. Whitworth, “Logan Pearsall Smith and ‘Orlando,’” Review of English Studies, 55 (2004) for a discussion of Greene as a composite character, 598, 603. The shadowy figure of Shakespeare makes appearances on ps 21, 80, 91, and 327 of Orlando.

  30. 30.

    Patrick Collier, “Virginia Woolf in the Pay of Booksellers,” Twentieth Century Literature, 48, 4, (2004), 368.

  31. 31.

    See Collier, 85, n.2.

  32. 32.

    Spiropoulou, Virginia Woolf, 89.

  33. 33.

    Collier, 373.

  34. 34.

    Christine Froula, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Avant Garde, (New York: Columbia University Press: 2005), 181.

  35. 35.

    Parkes, 167.

  36. 36.

    Micir observes that traditionally scholars of history and literature eschewed biography as “a career trap.” Scholars have only recently recognized the importance of life writing in modernist writing, 7–8.

  37. 37.

    See Lee, Chap. 3, “Paternal.”

  38. 38.

    Virginia Woolf, The Essays of Virginia Woolf, ed. Andrew McNeillie, (Harvest Harcourt:1994), iv, 473, 475.

  39. 39.

    Nigel Nicolson, Virginia Woolf, 106.

  40. 40.

    Nigel Nicolson, Virginia Woolf, 107. Woolf also reviewed Harold Nicolson’s book (WE, iv, 473–80).

  41. 41.

    Ibid., 107.

  42. 42.

    Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 77.

  43. 43.

    Ibid.

  44. 44.

    Froula, 181.

  45. 45.

    Parkes, 174.

  46. 46.

    See Parkes, Chap. 4; Marshik, 83–4, 113–14.

  47. 47.

    Parkes, 162.

  48. 48.

    The famous “hist,” used here to protect the prostitutes from the prying eyes of the public, reappear in Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

  49. 49.

    Parkes suggests that the space between these pages might give expression to lesbian desires, 164.

  50. 50.

    Pamela Caughie, “The Temporality of Modernist Life Writing in the Era of Transsexulaism, Modern Fiction Studies 59.3 (2013), 512.

  51. 51.

    Knopp, 31.

  52. 52.

    Spiropoulou, Virginia Woolf, 83.

  53. 53.

    See Angeliki Spiropoulou, “Orlando Famoso: Obscurity, Fame, and History in Orlando,” in Sentencing Orlando, 111.

  54. 54.

    Christie Burnes, “Redressing Feminist Identities: Tensions between Essential and Constructed Selves in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando,Twentieth-Century Literature 41.3 (1994), 535.

  55. 55.

    See Lee, 516–17.

  56. 56.

    For an excellent parsing of this sentence, see Jane DeGay, “Rhythms of Revision and Revisiting: Unpacking the Past in Orlando,” in Sentencing Orlando, Chap. 4.

  57. 57.

    Jonathan Dollimore uses this apt phrase in Radical Tragedy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 24.

  58. 58.

    See Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 8.

  59. 59.

    Burnes, “Redressing Feminist Identities,” 358.

  60. 60.

    Micir, 110–11.

  61. 61.

    See Blair, “Gypsies and Lesbian Desire,” 158.

  62. 62.

    Susan Sellers, “From Prehistoric Caves to Time Tunnels,” in Virginia Woolf and December 1910, Mikiko Minow-Pinkney, ed., (Great Britain: Illuminati Books, 2014), 163.

  63. 63.

    See Parkes, 163; 211, n. 66.

  64. 64.

    Lee, 156. Also see Quintin Bell, Virginia Woolf: A Biography (London: Hogarth Press, 1972) v. 1, 42–43; 95–97.

  65. 65.

    Parkes, 163.

  66. 66.

    Lee, 697.

  67. 67.

    Marshik, 91, 181.

  68. 68.

    Quoted in The Diary of Virginia Woolf, iii, 206, n.10.

  69. 69.

    Ibid., iv, 186.

  70. 70.

    Ibid., iii, 200, n.3.

  71. 71.

    Marshik, 118.

  72. 72.

    Lee, 520; Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf, eds. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1877), iii, 551, n. 2; Desmond MacCarthy qtd. in Bowlby, 151.

  73. 73.

    Virginia Woolf, Letters, iii, 544, 548; Lee, Virginia Woolf, 512–13.

  74. 74.

    Lee, 482.

  75. 75.

    Virginia Woolf Dairy, iii, 234; Virginia Woolf Letters, iii, 562.

  76. 76.

    Blair, “Gypsies and Lesbian Desire,” 158–59.

  77. 77.

    David Trotter, The Modernist Novel,” in Cambridge Companion to Modernism, ed. Michael Levenson (Cambridge University Press: 1999), 91.

  78. 78.

    Parkes, 173.

  79. 79.

    Nigel Nicolson, Virginia Woolf, 105.

  80. 80.

    Christine Froula, 181.

  81. 81.

    Pamela Caughie, “The Temporality of Modernist Life Writing in the Era of Transsexulaism, Modern Fiction Studies 59.3 (2013), 517.

  82. 82.

    Orlando gives only portions of Vita Sackville West’s long poem The Land.

  83. 83.

    For a description of how notable actresses who were also suffragettes starred in the 1911 production of Fanny’s First Play, an example of how art mirrors life, see Ellen Dolgin, Shaw and the Actresses Franchise League (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015), 153–54.

  84. 84.

    For a more complete account of Craig’s life and work, see Katherine Cockin, Edith Craig and the Theatres of Art, (New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017). Also see Julie Holledge, Innocent Flowers: Women in the Edwardian Theatre (London: Virago, 1981).

  85. 85.

    Cockin, 64–66.

  86. 86.

    Ibid., 227–31.

  87. 87.

    Holledge, 161–62.

  88. 88.

    Dolgin, 74.

  89. 89.

    Michael Holroyd, The Search for Love (New York: Random House: 1988), I: 380–81; also see Michel Holroyd, The Pursuit of Power (New York: Random House, 1989), II: 30.

  90. 90.

    Cockin, 15; Holledge, 155. According to Cockin (16), the brief affair between Vita Sackville-West and Christopher St. John almost ended the relationship among the three women.

  91. 91.

    Holledge, 155–56.

  92. 92.

    Ibid.,162.

  93. 93.

    Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts, ed. Mark Hussey (Cambridge University Press, 2011). All subsequent references will be given as BA in the text followed by the page number.

  94. 94.

    Jed Esty, A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England (Princeton University Press, 2004), 105.

  95. 95.

    See Parkes, 179.

  96. 96.

    Nicole Tabor, “Estrangement of Community in Between the Acts,” International Journal of Humanities 7.11 (2010), 4.

  97. 97.

    Farfan, Women, Modernism, and Performance (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 100.

  98. 98.

    Pamela Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism (University of Illinois Press, 1991), 51–52.

  99. 99.

    Lee, 422.

  100. 100.

    Spiropoulou, Virginia Woolf, Modernity and History , 42,49.

  101. 101.

    Ayoko Yoshino, “Between the Acts and Louis Napoleon Parker,” Critical Survey 15.2 (2003), 53.

  102. 102.

    Spiropoulou, 4; Also see H.G. Wells, Outline of History (London: Cassell, 1920–31). 

  103. 103.

    Esty, 87, 98.

  104. 104.

    Mitchell Leaska suggests that Mrs. Manresa is another of Woolf’s representations of Vita Sackville-West; see Pointz Hall: The Earlier and Later Transcripts of Between the Acts (New York: The John Jay Press, 1982), 464.

  105. 105.

    Julia Briggs, Reading Virginia Woolf (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), 27.

  106. 106.

    Jane Marcus, “Liberty, Sorority, Misogyny,” in Carolyn G. Heilbrun and Margaret R. Higonnet, ed., The Representation of Women in Fiction (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), 68.

  107. 107.

    Farfan, Women, Modernism and Performance, 91.

  108. 108.

    Sally Sears, “Theater of War,” in Virginia Woolf: A Feminist Slant, ed. Jane Marcus (University of Nebraska Press, 1983), 212–36.

  109. 109.

    Penny Farfan, “Writing/Performing: Virginia Woolf Between the Acts,” Text and Performance Quarterly 16.3, 1996: 208.

  110. 110.

    Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, v, 142. Also see Christine Froula, 289.

  111. 111.

    Farfan, “Writing and Performing,” 210.

  112. 112.

    Michele Pridmore-Brown, “1939–40: Of Virginia Woolf, Gramophones, and Fascism,” PMLA 113 (1998), 413.

  113. 113.

    Froula, 319.

  114. 114.

    Ibid.

  115. 115.

    Leaska, Pointz Hall, 231–33.

  116. 116.

    Madelyn Detloff, “Thinking Peace into Existence,” Women’s Studies 28 (1999), 407.

  117. 117.

    Lee, 435.

  118. 118.

    Franco Moretti, Modern Epic: The World-System from Goethe to García Márquez, trans. Quintin Hoare (London: Verso, 1996), 132–71.

  119. 119.

    Dora Zhang, “Stream of Consciousness,” The Oxford Handbook of Virginia Woolf, ed. Anne E. Fernald (Oxford University Press, 2021), 144.

  120. 120.

    Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 53.

  121. 121.

    Esty, 53, 87.

  122. 122.

    Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 56.

  123. 123.

    Esty, 97.

  124. 124.

    Bonnie Kime-Scott, Refiguring Modernism: Postmodern Feminist Readings of Woolf, West, and Barnes, 2 vols. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 2: 63.

  125. 125.

    Ibid.

  126. 126.

    Ibid.

  127. 127.

    Hussey, Between the Acts, 169, n. 22.

  128. 128.

    Virginia Woolf (1940), in Brenda Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’: Virginia Woolf’s Last Essays,” Twentieth Century Literature 24.3 (1979), 357.

  129. 129.

    Briggs, Reading Virginia Woolf, 196, 201.

  130. 130.

    Froula, 308.

  131. 131.

    Esty, 62.

  132. 132.

    Mitchell Leaska, “Introduction,” Pointz Hall: The Earlier and Later Transcripts of Between the Acts (New York: The John Jay Press, 1982) 14–15.

  133. 133.

    Hussey does not attribute these lines to any specific author in his annotations to the novel. Leaska, in Earlier Transcripts (47, 73, 112), shows that the words of each line are slightly changed; see also Later Transcripts, 270, 291.

  134. 134.

    Kime-Scott, 2: 62–63.

  135. 135.

    Virginia Woolf, in Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 360.

  136. 136.

    Virginia Woolf quoted in Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 389.

  137. 137.

    Nora Eisenburg “Virginia Woolf’s Last Word on Words,” in Jane Marcus, ed., New Feminist Essays on Virginia Woolf (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), 253–55; Virginia Woolf quoted in Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 399.

  138. 138.

    [Jane Marcus], “Some Possible Sources for Between the Acts,” Virginia Woolf Miscellany (1977), n. 6, 1.

  139. 139.

    Kime-Scott, 2: 58.

  140. 140.

    Virginia Woolf, “Anon” in Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 382–84.

  141. 141.

    Eisenberg, 256.

  142. 142.

    Melba Cuddy-Keane, “The Politics of Comic Modes in Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts,” PMLA 105.2 (1990), 279.

  143. 143.

    Farfan, “Writing and Performing,” 208. Also See Eileen Barrett, “Matriarchal Myth on Patriarchal Stage: Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts,” Twentieth Century Literature 33 (1987), 33.

  144. 144.

    Esty, 98–99.

  145. 145.

    Ibid., 99–101.

  146. 146.

    Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 29.

  147. 147.

    Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 398.

  148. 148.

    Alice Wood, “Late Works,” 126.

  149. 149.

    See Ayoko Yoshino, “Between the Acts and Louis Napoleon Parker,” Critical Survey 15.2 (2003), 49–60.

  150. 150.

    Leaska, Pointz Hall: The Earlier and Later Transcripts, 225–26.

  151. 151.

    Kime-Scott,, 2: 58–59.

  152. 152.

    David McWhirter, “The Novel, Play, and Book,” 803.

  153. 153.

    See Nicole Tabor, “Estrangement of community in Between the Acts,” 5.

  154. 154.

    Hussey, “Introduction” Between the Acts, xlv, passim; Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 359, 382.

  155. 155.

    Hussey, “Introduction,” Between the Acts, xliv.

  156. 156.

    See Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 388; also see Woolf’s The Waves, ed. Molly Hite (New York: Harvest Harcourt, 2006), 195, 213 and 219.

  157. 157.

    Nora Eisenberg, “Virginia Woolf’s Last Words on Words: Between the Acts and ‘Anon,’” 253.

  158. 158.

    Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 83, 53.

  159. 159.

    Leaska, Pointz Hall, 459.

  160. 160.

    Christine Froula, 302.

  161. 161.

    Leaska, Pointz Hall, 131.

  162. 162.

    Farfan, “Writing and Performing,” 208.

  163. 163.

    See Hussey, Between the Acts, 20 n. 4.

  164. 164.

    Virginia Woolf, “Anon,” in Silver, “‘Anon’ and ‘The Reader’,” 389.

  165. 165.

    Hussey, “Introduction,” Between the Acts, xlvi.

  166. 166.

    Parkes, 178.

  167. 167.

    Caughie, Virginia Woolf and Postmodernism, 51.

  168. 168.

    Leaska extensively examines Woolf’s bouts of self-doubt, especially in her later years, in his “Introduction” to Pointz Hall, 5–9.

  169. 169.

    Pridmore-Brown, 408, 414.

  170. 170.

    Patricia Joplin, “The Authority of Illusion: Feminism and Fascism in Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts,” in Margaret Homans, Virginia Woolf: A Collection of Critical Essays, 221.

  171. 171.

    Leaska (Pointz Hall, 12) notes that this passage recalls lines from Vita Sackville-West’s The Edwardians and is a possible coded message to Vita about their now-troubled relationship.

  172. 172.

    Barrett, “Matriarchal Myth on Patriarchal Stage,” 34–35.

  173. 173.

    Marcus, Liberty, Sorority, Misogyny,” 63.

  174. 174.

    Nigel Nicolson, Virginia Woolf, 129, 161.

  175. 175.

    Joplin, “Feminism and Fascism,” 218.

  176. 176.

    Lyndall Gordon, Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life (New York: W.W. Norton, 1984), 269.

  177. 177.

    Lee, 743.

  178. 178.

    Hussey, “Introduction,” Between the Acts, liii–v.

  179. 179.

    Ibid., xxxix. Julia Briggs (Inner Life, 392) suggests that Leonard’s appended note “begged more questions than it answered” about Woolf’s final days and the status of the final draft of Between the Acts.

  180. 180.

    Lee, 754.

  181. 181.

    See Hussey, “Introduction,” lvii-lviii; Julia Briggs, Inner Life, 392–94.

  182. 182.

    Briggs, Inner Life, 392–97.

  183. 183.

    Jane Goldman and Susan Sellers, “General Editors’ Preface,” The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf, xi.

  184. 184.

    See Lee, 422, 424, 425, and Lyndall Gordon, Virginia Woolf, 251.

  185. 185.

    Leaska cautions that Woolf’s euphoric mood may have been a cover for her concern about the slow sales of her novels The Years and The Waves, for the sense of loss that engulfed her while writing Roger Fry, and for the resurgence of past memories of trauma suffered during her childhood. Pointz Hall, 458.

  186. 186.

    Briggs, Reading Virginia Woolf, 186.

  187. 187.

    Joplin, “Feminism and Fascism in Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts, in Margret Homans, Virginia Woolf, 211, 218.

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Tallent Lenker, L. (2024). Novels of Great Women. In: Bernard Shaw’s and Virginia Woolf’s Interior Authors. Bernard Shaw and His Contemporaries. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-49604-2_8

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