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Virginia Woolf: Writing the World$
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Pamela L. Caughie and Diana L. Swanson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780990895800

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Negative Feminism and Anti-Development in Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out

Negative Feminism and Anti-Development in Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out

Chapter:
(p.180) Negative Feminism and Anti-Development in Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out
Source:
Virginia Woolf: Writing the World
Author(s):

Anne Cunningham

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.003.0025

This essay considers how Virginia Woolf’s feminist critique in her first novel is linked to a negative feminism and a modernist aesthetic of failure. Woolf’s Rachel Vinrace enacts a form of shadow feminism, grounded in refusal, failing, and passivity. Because readings of Woolf’s corpus overlook shadow feminism and tend to explain away the non-triumphant Rachel Vinrace by turning to Woolf’s later successful female characters, this essay discusses The Voyage Out in its own right to highlight how reading Woolf through a positivist feminist lens obscures shadow feminism. This essay argues such readings narrow the scope of feminist inquiry.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, Rachel Vinrace, Shadow feminism, Liberal feminism, Modernist aesthetic, Bildung, Failure

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