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The Great War and the Language of Modernism$
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Vincent Sherry

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178180.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Woolf, Among the Modernists

Woolf, Among the Modernists

(p.234) 4 Woolf, Among the Modernists
The Great War and the Language of Modernism

Vincent Sherry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter situates Virginia Woolf's creative response to the Great War in the deep context of the English Liberalism she knew intimately through her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, who was a dean of high Victorian Liberal thought. Where the Liberal government travestied the language of rationalism in its defense of its war policy, Woolf found freedom from the Word of an oppressive patriarchy. Her major development shows in her masterful play with the gestures and postures of logical language. This countermeasure surfaces first in the short stories she wrote during and just after the war, most notably “The Mark on the Wall” and “Solid Objects”. The liberation she enjoyed is witnessed in the new verbal textures of her characteristically modernist novels, most notably Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalloway, and To the Lighthouse, where her stylistic experiments are matched with probing accounts of the historical legacy of the war.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Great War, English Liberalism, Sir Leslie Stephen, language of rationalism, The Mark on the Wall, Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse

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