Sunday, November 25, 2012

Enter Stage Right: Encountering Women in Woolf Literature

Virginia Woolf’s novel, Between the Acts, printed posthumously, offers continued insights into Woolf’s ability to deftly manipulate spaces with words. She uses the movements of her characters to advance her literature and simultaneously provide a commentary on women as they negotiate through space. Author Helen Southworth addresses this phenomenon found in Woolf literature, particularly as women move from one place to another. “It entails a continual renegotiation of space. Breaking the threshold over and over again, Woolf’s woman marks the line separating inside and outside only to explode it moments later,” Southworth writes. (Ed. Snaith), p. 48. For example, Woolf carves this space for Lucy: “Lucy had just opened her lips to reply, and had laid her hand on the cross caressingly, when the gentlemen came in. She made her little chirruping sound of welcome. She shuffled her feet to clear a space. But in fact there was more space than was needed, and great hooded chairs.” (Woolf), p 215.   

To examine this further, let’s take a look at the power of the character of Lucy, who exerts her radiating presence to convince Giles to change his clothes. Later, she seems to drift ethereally from one place to another without the weight of the world on her shoulders. “He must change. And he came into the dining room looking like a cricketer, in flannel, wearing a blue coat with brass buttons, although he was enraged… Yet he changed. It was Aunt Lucy, waving her hand at him as he came in, who made him change.” (Woolf), p 46.

In another scene, she (Lucy) moves from one place to the next, while standing in the doorway threshold. “The door trembled and stood half open. That was Lucy’s way of coming in – as if she did not know what she would find. Really! It was her brother! And his dog! She seemed to see them for the first time. Was it that she had no body? Up in the clouds, like an air ball, her mind touched ground now and then with a shock of surprise. There was nothing in her to weight a man like Giles to the earth.” (Woolf), p 116.

Woolf’s strategic decision to position characters at the point of an intersection breaks open the literary opportunity for character development and plot. “Rather than positing two separate spaces, permitting distinctions such as inside/outside, yes/no to persist, Woolf focuses on intersections. These spaces are fraught with possibility,” Southworth states. (Ed. Snaith), p 49.  The author uses Lucy once again to reveal the presence “between two fluidities” that the character experienced following the play. “Lucy still gazed at the lily pond. ‘All gone,’ she murmured, ‘under the leaves.’ Scared by shadows passing, the fish had withdrawn. She gazed at the water. Perfunctorily she caressed her cross. But her eyes when water searching, looking for fish. The lilies were shutting; the red lily, the white lily, each on its plate of leaf. Above all, the air rushed; beneath was water. She stood between two fluidities, caressing her cross.” (Woolf), p 204.

Even with the eyes, Woolf personifies characters intermingling at intersections. For Isa, she witnessed the departure of individuals yet was still trapped by the conclusion “It was drifting away to join the other clouds; becoming invisible. Through the smoke Isa saw not the play, but the audience dispersing. Some drove; others cycles. A gate swung open. A car swept up the drive to the red villa in the cornfields. Low hanging boughs of acacia brushed the roof. (Woolf), p 213.

In Between the Acts, Woolf breaks the box of literary convention by interjecting a play into a novel, giving the reader a captivating experience. She further breaks the conventions of a “woman’s place” by showing the intersections of various spaces and showcasing how women navigate from various spheres and often poise themselves at an intersection.


Ed. Snaith, Anna and Michael H. Whitworth, ed. Locating Woolf: The Politics of Space and Place . New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Woolf, Virginia. Between the Acts . New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company , 1941.



Monday, November 12, 2012

The Subversive Act of Interjecting A Private Letter into the Public Sphere

Virginia Woolf smacks the conundrum of women confined to the private sphere in the face with the authorship of Three Guineas by unveiling the often concealed private letter and placing it into the public sphere.  Drafted in 1938, we see Woolf’s conclusions of a lifetime of social, economic and political observation come to form in this edgy format.  This work further allows us to explore the segregation between the public sphere and the private sphere.  

The  book is creatively crafted in response to a letter – the convention itself reveals the subversive nature of thrusting the private letter into the public sphere for appropriate dialogue and debate. “Now regarded as one of the most important letter writers of the twentieth century, Woolf spins and tortures the form of the semiprivate letter in Three Guineas to show how difficult it is for a woman citizen in England in 1936 and 1937 to reply to request for money for good causes. Her replies (our text) also follow the private letter into the public domain,” writes Jane Marcus in the 2005 introduction of Three Guineas. (Woolf), lvii.

Woolf points to the honorary treasurer’s letter soliciting money to rebuild her college as an opening to document Woolf’s perspectives on the role of women in professions, the power dynamics at work in society and the future for women. “She has been asking for some time; she is still asking it seems… History, biography and the daily paper between them make it difficult either to answer her letter or to dictate terms,” Woolf writes. (Woolf), p 39. Woolf indicates the incredulity of asking for money in the face of the war economy.  “Let us inform you: we are spending three hundred millions annually upon the army and navy; for, according to a letter that lies cheek by jowl and your own, there is a grave danger of way. How then can you seriously ask us to provide you with money with which to rebuild your college?” (Woolf), p 41

Woolf wrote this book in 1938 and despite the passage of 74 years of social, political and economic change, the issues remain the same. This awakening reveals a startling, and at times disheartening incidence of social misalignment, gender based power struggles and gender inequality in the workplace. Today, we still address the concepts of professions for women, the use of the word ‘feminist,’ equal pay for work, the ability of women to serve as religious leaders and other topics addressed by Woolf in Three Guineas. From first wave feminism to the third and fourth wave, society still grapples with these core struggles.

As a former journalist and communications studies instructor, I was interested in how Woolf observed the powerful role that men play in the world of publishing. She articulates their role as “gatekeepers” and simultaneously reveals how women are cast to the side, despite their views or the strength of their words.  “Then again although it is true we can write articles or send letters to the Press, the control of the Press – the decision what to print, what not to print – is entirely in the hands of your sex.” (Woolf), p 16.

Woolf tackles women’s role in exterior society head-on, with a sense of tongue-in-cheek humor, irony and confrontational language. She includes photography to advance her narrative responses. “The coloured photograph that we have been looking at presents some remarkable features, it is true, but it serves to remind us that there are many inner and secret chambers that we cannot enter. What real influence can we bring to bear upon law or business, religion or politics – we to whom the doors are still locked, or at best ajar, we who have neither capital nor force behind us? It seems as if our influence must stop short at that surface,” Woolf writes in Three Guineas. (Woolf), p28

Woolf underscores the gender- segregated spheres of the public and the private. “Sir I take you to mean that the world at present is divided into two services; one the public and the other the private. In one world the sons of educated men work as civil servants, judges, soldiers and are paid for that work; in the other world, the daughters of educated men work as wives, mothers, daughters – but are they not paid for that work?” (Woolf), p 66. Cloistered inside the home, Woolf resigns the fact that women will continue to support the perpetuation of patriarchy, including the war machine.  “…if they are going to be restricted to the education of the private house they are going, once more, to exert all influence both consciously and unconsciously in favor of war.” (Woolf), p 47.

As author Linda McDowell writes, women submit to a double bind that limits their forced independence on men limits their rights to freedom. “Thus women’s construction as dependent on men, both economically and morally, or as lesser beings – as fragile or in need of protection – reduces their rights to freedom. “(McDowell), p 150.  The simplest freedoms of moving into the public sphere and commanding the integrity of her body remained elusive in Woolf’s world.  “It was with a view toward marriage that her body was educated; a maid was provided for her; that the streets were shut to her; that the fields were shut to her – all this was forced upon her in order that she might preserve her body intact for her husband.” (Woolf), p 48.

We have repeatedly seen Woolf use the device of windows for women to engage in looking. While the peer out windows onto the landscape, they only view a sliver of information. Now, in Three Guineas, she advocates women to ‘light up’ the house. “Take this guinea then and use it, not to burn the house down, but to make its windows blaze. And let the daughters of uneducated women dance around the new house, the poor house, the house that stands in a narrow street where omnibuses pass and the street hawkers cry their wares, and let them sing ‘We have done with war! We have done with tyranny!” And their mothers will laugh from their graves, ‘It was for this that we suffered obloquy and contempt! Light up the windows for the new house, daughters! Let them blaze!” (Woolf), p 100.

Three Guineas offers viewers an encounter with the political mind of Virginia Woolf who tackles issues of her day head-on by taking up the female cause of women’s freedoms evidenced by access to education, access to professions, advocacy for political power and personal freedoms of movement. Despite the fact that more than 70 years have passed since this book’s appearance, women today still grapple with these issues. While women have logged advancements, including the enrollment of young women in universities, the broad issues linger, allowing us to take lessons from Woolf’s energetic advocacy.  


McDowell, Linda. Gender, Identity and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1999.

Woolf, Virginia. Three Guineas. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc. , 2005.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Following Fictional Females Through the Public and Private Spheres

This week, I continue a discussion of the role of women in the public and private spheres by examining Virginia Woolf’s The Years. Informed by references from spatial theorists such as Gaston Bachelard, Michel DeCerteau and feminist theoriest Linda McDowell, I connect concepts from these theorists exploring the private sphere, the public sphere and the realm of power.

Scholars of Virginia Woolf literature document the dichotomy of the public and private spheres found in her work. “Spatial separation of men and women is indicative of the separation along gender lines of opportunities for education, work and self-development. The Years charts changes in women’s sexual position and identity through their evolving relationship to the city, particularly through changes in their mobility, as confinement to and exclusion from certain places informs their knowledge about the world and their places in it,” Evans states. (Evans). P 113

To ground this discussion, I first point to Gaston Bachelard, the author of The Poetics of Space. For Bachelard, the home is a “large cradle” allowing young women to remain in the bosom of a protected cocoon to prevent them from harm. “Life begins well, it begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom of the house.” (Bachelard). Bachelard further addresses the dialectics of outside and inside in “…from the point of view of geometrical expressions, the dialectics of outside and inside is supported by a reinforced geometrism, in which limits are barriers.” (Bachelard).

The women in the book know the barriers between the private sphere and the public sphere quite well. In an attempt to gaze into the public world, they gravitate to windows. Delia spends a lot of time looking out the window of the house, peering into the outside world, watching men navigate. “‘Don’t be caught looking,’ said Eleanor warningly. The young man ran up the steps into the house.; the door shut upon him and the cab drove away.  But for the moment the two girls stood at the window looking into the street.” (Woolf), p 18.  This quotation underscores the women simply looking at the young man, who has the freedom to navigate.    

Woolf casts a spotlight onto the dichotomy of public and private in her discussion of the Pargiter girls. While citing a draft copy of Woolf’s the Years, scholar Elizabeth Evans cites “Eleanor and Milly and Delia could not possibly go for a walk alone  …. To be seen alone in Picadilly was equivalent to walking up Abercorn Terrace in a dressing gown carrying a bath sponge.” (Evans), p 115

The demarcation between public and private has long been studies by feminist theorists and the connection to “danger” and the power balance is evidence by women “cordoned off” from social, economic and political happenings.  “Woolf’s narrator comments upon this scene, describing not only the danger to girls and women in the streets, but also the consequent need for their protection within the private sphere. The danger, outside, in other words, enables their cloistering at home,” according to Evans. (Evans), p 116

Further, through this removal and subsequent “imprisoning” in the home, a power dynamic emerges that denies the role of women in the public sphere. “Thus, women’s construction as dependent on men, both economically and morally, or as lesser beings – as fragile or in need of protection reduces their rights to freedom,” (McDowell), p 150.

Even a lightbeam had more freedom to pass between the cordoned off private world and the public realm.  “Woolf symbolically illustrates the permeability between public and private realms through the infiltration of noise and light from the outside world into the domestic space,” Evans writes, p 117.  We find this in the scene depicting the children eating dinner. “They ate in silence. The sun, judging from the changing lights on the glass of the Dutch cabinet, seemed to be going in and out. Sometimes a bowl shown deep blue; then became vivid. Lights rested furtively upon the furniture in the other room. Here was a pattern here was a bald patch. Somewhere there’s beauty, Delia thought, somewhere there’s freedom…” (Woolf), p 13.  This is reminiscent of Woolf’s description of the Ramsey house in To the Lighthouse. “Now, day after day, light turned, like a flower reflected in water, its sharp image on the wall opposite. Only the shadows of the trees, flourishing in the wind, made obeisance on the wall and for a moment darkened the pool in which the light reflected itself; or the birds, flying made a soft spot flutter slowly across the bedroom floor.” (Woolf, To The Lighthouse), p. 129.

For Woolf’s character Delia, the escape from the domestic realm came in the form of a trip to a funeral. “She glanced out the window again. Another man raised his hat – a tall man, a man in a frock coat, but she would not allow herself to think of Mr. Parnell until the funeral was over. At last they reached the cemetery.  As she took her place in the little group behind the coffin and walked up to the church, she was relieved to find that she was overcome by some generalized and solemn emotion ….. Delia, standing behind her father, noticed how he braced himself and squared his shoulders. ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ Pent up as she had been all these days in the half-lit house which smelt of flowers, the outspoken words filled her with glory,” Woolf writes.

The second half of Woolf’s years reveals the women taking a more aggressive approach to the public sphere. For Kitty’s ride in the rail car, I am reminded of Michel DeCerteau’s view on rails. Woolf writes, “There was a perpetual faint vibration. She seemed to be passing from one world to another; this was the moment of transition. She sat still for a moment; then undressed and paused with her hand on the blind,” (Woolf), p 256. DeCerteau places this in a perspective, “The windowpane is what allows us to see, and the rail allows us to move through. These are two complementary modes of separation.” (DeCerteau)

The characters in Woolf novels, continually try to step out of the domestic sphere. For example, in The Years,  Eleanor later finds her way onto the street: “The uproar, the confusion, the space of the Strand came upon her with a shock of relief. She felt herself expand. It was still daylight here; a rush, a stir, a turmoil of variegated life came racing towards her. It was as if something had broken loose – in her, in the world.” (Woolf), p 105 “She walked slowly along towards Trafalgar Square, holding the paper in her hand. Suddenly the whole scene froze into immobility. A man was joined to a pillar; a lion was joined to a many; they seemed stilled, connected, as if they would never move again. ” (Woolf), p107.

This is the power of the public sphere. The ability to engage in this realm, observe happenings and participate in the social, economic and political happenings of the day. While Woolf’s readers may not have exercised this freedom, with their minds they were able to traverse London streets, voyeuristically travel on trains and experience a freedom through Woolf’s fictional characters.


Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. The Orion Press, Inc. , 1964.

DeCerteau. The Practice of Everyday Life. 2011, n.d.

Evans, Elizabeth. "Woolf's Analysis of "The Outer and the Inner: A Spatial Analysis of The Years." Woolf and the Art of Exploration: Selected Papers from the Fifteenth International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Ed. Helen Southworth and Elisa Kay Sparks. Portland, OR: Clemson University Digital Press, 2005.

McDowell. Gender, Identity and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

Woolf, Virginia. The Years. Orlando: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

—. To The Lighthouse. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 1981.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Footsteps on the Cityscape With Virginia Woolf

An avid walker, Virginia Woolf brings her passion for movement to the pages of her work. In  The Waves, originally published in 1931, we observe male and female characters navigating through urban places by walking. We seem them grapple with meaningful explanations for walking. From a philosophical perspective, this reminds us of our discussions regarding French sociologist and philosopher Michel DeCerteau and his movement imperative, the advent of the flaneur and the impact of this urban movement for women. Feminist theorist Linda McDowell offers further insights into the freedom factor for urban walking and allows us to better understand the liberation that occurs with Woolf’s female characters as they take to the city landscape.

DeCerteau believed that walking enabled the participant to gain a tactical view of the city, thus engaging in the happenings of urban life, deciphering stories and creating new memories. “He (DeCerteau) compares the act of walking to rhetoric, so that the appropriation of spaces can be seen as a kind of troping,  the official stories about movement in the city,” (Whitworth, 2007 ), p 16. Let’s examine strains of DeCerteau in The Waves by looking at a conversational exchange between characters Bernard and Neville. 

“It is true, and I know for a fact,” said Bernard, “as we walk down this avenue, that a King, riding, fell over a molehill here. But how strange it seems to set against the whirling abysses of infinite space, a little figure with a golden teapot on his head …. No, I try to recover, as we walk,  the sense of time, but with that streaming darkness in my eyes I have lost my grip,” Woolf writes in The Waves. (Woolf, 1931; 2005), p 167.  Neville disagrees.

“Unreasonably ridiculous,” said Neville, “as we walk, time comes back. A dog does it, prancing. The machine works …. I am beginning to be convinced, as we walk that fate of Europe is of immense importance, and, ridiculous as it seems, that all depends upon the battle of Blenheim. (Woolf, 1931; 2005), 167.     

While these male characters have a command of the public space and may dispute the role of time while walking, theorists such as McDowell posit an oppositional view for feminist theorists. She asserts that traversing over the public landscape may be considered a liberating factor for women. She writes, “…the public spaces of the city have been significant locations in women’s escape from male dominance and from the bourgeois norms of modern society.” (McDowell, 1999) p 49

In her fictional works, Woolf liberates women into the public realm via women walking in the public spaces of the city, as evidenced by Mrs. Dalloway’s excursion. Further, in the book Mrs. Dalloway, we also read about her daughter (Elizabeth) walking as part of a shopping journey. In The Waves, we see Jinny take to the streets of London to walk her dog and partake of daily living, giving her a sense of public freedom, unrestrained from her traditional roles.   Jinny becomes a female flaneur, a feminist act of modernity brought to us by Virginia Woolf.  “The quintessential figure of the modern metropolis, according to Baudelaire was that of the flaneur: the strolling observer, who gazed, but did not participate in the spectacular developments in the city. The flaneur was an anonymous figure in the urban crowd, invisible but all-seeing, a spectator who was, according to Frisby, “a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito.” (McDowell, 1999), p154

While early female flaneurs were classified as “streetwalkers,” Woolf casts aside this discriminatory label and interjects her characters into the public space, allowing them to participate in the DeCerteanian mode of tactical observation.  “The latter group of women, commonly and accurately termed ‘streetwalkers’ were regarded as fallen women in the hypocritical sexual double standard of the Victorian era.  The very act of their appearance on the streets left the status of women open to interpretation and, often to unwanted sexual advances,” McDowell writes. (McDowell, 1999), p 154

For the Jinny character, who often used her beauty to command attention and wield power over others, the process of aging was characterized as one that put her “underground,” a subterranean experience “below” the freedom exerted by the flaneur.  “Here I stand,” said Jinny, “in the Tube station where everything that is desirable meets – Piccadilly SouthSide, Piccadilly North Side, Regent Street and the Haymarket. I stand for the moment under the pavement in the heart of London. Innumerable wheels rush and feet press just over my head. The great avenues of civilization meet here and strike this way and that. I am in the heart of life,” Jinny states. (Woolf, 1931; 2005), p 140. “But look, there is my body in the looking glass. How solitary, how shrunk, how aged! I am no longer young. I am no longer part of the procession, Jinny laments. (Woolf, 1931; 2005), p 142.  Her aging body, drives her away from the vitality, away from the “action,” and into a bystander role.

Footsteps taken across the urban and pastoral landscapes provide readers with flashes of insight into the use of public and private space, the dynamics associated with these various realms and the courage of Virginia Woolf to empower her female characters to walk out into the public space.   


McDowell, L. (1999). Gender, Identity and Place. Minneapolis: Polity Press .

Whitworth, E. A. (Ed.). (2007 ). Locating Woolf. New York : Palgrave Macmillian.

Woolf, V. (1931; 2005). The Waves. (e. Mark Hussey, Ed.) Orlando, Florida: Harcourt.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lefebvre's Concepts of Social Space in the Waves: Observations on Susan and Bernard

As every society forms its own space, scholar Henri Lefebvre points to a “conceptual triad” comprised of spatial practice, representations of space, and representational spaces, setting forth a method to understand how cultures use space.  (Lefebvre, 1991).

Readers of The Waves navigate through Virginia Woolf’s book find the characters grappling with the issues surrounding social space and their role situating themselves as they grow, adapt and change to fit altered circumstances of age, new relationships and worldly desires for marriage, career, independence and other dimensions.

For example, Woolf’s character Susan, who is the daughter of a clergyman, moves through the first portion of The Waves seeking happiness and defining herself in a traditional role. “I do not want as Jinny wants, to be admired. I do not want people, when I come in, to look up with admiration. I want to give, to be given, and solitude in which to unfold my possessions,” Susan states in The Waves. (Woolf, 2006)

For Lefebvre, the spatial practices of individuals expresses the outcome of social patterns, including emotions, desires and actions.  “In reality, social space ‘incorporates’ social actions, the actions of subjects both individual and collective who are born and who dies, who suffer and who act.” (Lefebvre, 1991)

We find a demarcation of urban and pastoral space resonates for Susan, who seeks to retreat to the country life to raise her family in a traditional atmosphere, allowing her to embrace a traditional “mother” role. “I will not send my children to school nor spend a night all of my life in London. Here is the vast station everything echoes and booms hollowly. The light is like the yellow light under an awning. Jinny Lives here….The streets are laced together with telegraph wires. The houses are all glass, all festoons and glitter; now all front doors and lace curtains, all pillars and white steps,” Susan recounts in The Waves. (Woolf, 2006)

An individual’s choice – to live in the city, to live in the country, to travel abroad, to remain close to home – all represent the incorporation of value systems into an every changing atmosphere.  “The production of Space forms the keystone of the all-important ‘second phase’ of Lefebvre’s analysis of the urban that began in 1972. This later phase deals with social space itself as a national and ‘planetary expression’ of the modes of production….Lefebvre moved his analysis of ‘space’  from the old synchronic order of discourses “on” space …. To the manner in which understandings of geographical space, landscape and property are culturally and thereby have a history of change.” (Key Thinkers on Space and Place)

As a passenger on the train heading home, Susan recounts her departure from the city, and re-entry into the pastoral farm land, allowing her to re-unite with her father, an emotional moment for her. “Now I will let myself lean out the wind. The air rushes down my nose and throat – the cold air, the salt air with the smell of turnip fields in it. And there is my father with his back turned, talking to a farmer, I tremble. I cry. There is my father.”  (Woolf, 2006)

Sharing her delight of an early-morning walk through the farm, Susan states, “At this hour, this still early hour, I think I am the field. I am the barn, I am the trees; mine are the flocks of birds, and this young hare who leaps, at the last moment when I step up almost on him.” (Woolf, 2006)

Woolf’s character’s, and many fictional characters throughout literary works, find themselves struggling with questions of space and place. “But now let me ask myself the final question, as I sit over the grey fire, with its naked promontories of black coal, which of these people am I? It depends so much upon the room. When I say to myself, ‘Bernard,’ who comes?  A faithful, sardonic man, disillusioned, but not embittered. A man of no particular age or calling. Myself, merely.” (Woolf, 2006)

 “Social space thus remains the space of society, of social life. Man does not live by words alone; all subjects are situated in a space in which they must either recognize themselves or lose themselves, as space which they may both enjoy and modify,” Lefebvre states. (Lefebvre, 1991)

Key Thinkers on Space and Place. (n.d.).

Lefebvre, H. (1991). The Production of Space . Malden: Blackwell.

Woolf, V. (2006). The Waves. Orlando: Harcourt.


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Poetics of Space in The Lady in the Looking Glass

Finding Bachelard’s Poetics of Space in Virginia Woolf's The Lady in the Looking Glass

The Lady in the Looking Glass by Virginia Woolf offers the reader a powerful analogy of the mind to a room, allowing us to derive key lessons from theorist Gaston Bachelard regarding the positioning of the individual in time and space.

Lady Isabella finds herself standing before a mirror in the drawing room pondering the life sequence that has passed before her as Woolf drills in on a spatial analogy. “Her mind was like her room, in which lights advanced and retreated, came pirouetting and stepping delicately, spread their tails, pecked their way; and then their whole being was suffused, like the room again, with a cloud of some profound knowledge, some unspoken regret, and then she was full of locked drawers, stuffed with letters, like her cabinets,” Woolf writes in the Lady in the Looking Glass. (Woolf)

In his work, The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard offers additional insights into the conceptual yet hidden realm of the future in prose.  “With the theme of drawers, chests, locks and wardrobes, we shall resume contact with the unfathomable store of daydreams and intimacy,” Bachelard states. (Bachelard, 1964) For Isabella, this imagination translates into a fantasy world of love, passion, love lost that may contrast her life as a “spinster.” “….Isabella has known many people, had had many friends: and thus if one had the audacity to open and drawer and read her letters, one would find the traces of many agitations, of appointments to meet, of up bradings for not having met, long letters of intimacy and affection, violent letters of jealousy and reproach, terrible final words of parting – for all those interviews and assignations had led to nothing – that is she never married, and yet, judging from the mask-like indifference of her face, she had gone through twenty-times more of passion and experience than those whose loves are trumpeted forth for all the world to hear.” (Woolf)

In the world of the lonely spinster Isabella, the cabinet offers a receptacle to hide the anguish of her solitude. “Wardrobes and their shelves, desks with their drawers and chests with false bottoms are veritable organs of the secret psychological life,” Bachelard states. “The pages inside those marble-looking envelopes must be cut deep and scored thick with meaning. Isabella would come in, and take them, one by one, very slowly, and open them, and read them carefully word by word, and then with a profound sigh of comprehension, as if she had seen the bottom of everything, she would tear the envelope to bits and tie the letters back together and lock the cabinet door in her determination to conceal what she did not wish to be known,” Woolf writes. (Woolf)

 As the drawer is pried open, so too is the soul of Isabella for the reader to view. “Every poet of furniture – even if he be a poet with a garret, and therefore has no furniture, knows that the inner space of an old wardrobe is deep. A wardrobe’s inner space is also intimate space, space that is not open to just anybody,” Bachelard writes. (Bachelard, 1964) “Isabella did not wish to be known – but she should no longer escape. It was absurd. It was monstrous. If she concealed so much and knew so much one must prize her open with the first tool that came to hand – the imagination,” Woolf writes. (Woolf)

For Bachelard, the concept of the drawer files away the creativity and quells vitality. “Concepts are drawers in which knowledge may be classified; they are also ready-made garments which do away with individuality of knowledge that has been experienced. The concept soon becomes lifeless thinking since, but definition, it is classified thinking,” Bachelard states. (Bachelard, 1964)

“To talk of ‘prizing her open’ as if she were an oyster, to use any but the finest and subtlest and most pliable tools upon her was impious and absurd. One must imagine – here she was in the looking glass, it made one start,” Woolf writes. (Woolf)

For the protagonist of this story, the Bachelard projection of lifelessness rings true as Woolf writes: “Isabella was perfectly empty. She had no thoughts. She had no friends. She cared for nobody.” (Woolf). In the final revealing scene, the reader learns that Isabella’s current letters are comprised of bills, not even worthy of opening.

This Virginia Woolf work offers a somber treatment of the spinster, revealing alienation and the secret concealed nature of the individual’s soul through the spatial relationships drawn between the mind, the room and its contents.




Sunday, October 7, 2012

Orlando: Moving Through Space and Time As a Man, As A Woman

The reader of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando plunges  into a world of suspended disbelief as the individual wanders alongside the protagonist, Orlando, who begins the book ensconced in a courtly life of British nobility and then after a “long sleep” transforms into a female version of Orlando, relegated to face the challenges of operating as a female in a male-dominated world. Extending over a  400-year time span, the reader reels through decades, making observations about social customs, gender disparities and the atmospheres for women and men.  

For reference material for Orlando’s homestead, Woolf relied heavily Vita Sackville West’s writing of her personal experience at her childhood estate in the work, Knole and the Sackvilles. In light of this connection some scholars have said, “It has been one of the sentimental commonplaces attached to Orlando criticism that it is the “longest and most charming love letters in literature.” (Woolf, 1928). Sackville West was prohibited from inheriting Knole from her father, and watched with anguish as the property was transferred to her father’s nephew instead. We further find strains of this in Orlando as the female Orlando faces peril over land claims.  

Now, through the pages of Orlando, we see the male, and then female version of Orlando walk the grounds, participate in courtly activities and ponder literature, politics, gender role and the like. From a space and place perspective, we once again see the formulation of a domestic space. Woolf literature contains a multitude of contexts that underscore the separation of the public sphere and the private, domestic sphere. For example, readers observe Mrs. Dalloway in the book with the same title, take command of the domestic sphere with her parties and we see Mrs. Ramsey in To the Lighthouse guide the home and all those who meander under the roof.

Scholars refer to this phenomenon as a “veiled sacredness” or an invisible dynamic.  “I refer here to opposites that we take for granted, such as the contrast between public and private space, family and social space, cultural and utilitarian space and the space of pleasure and the space of work – all opposites that are still actuated by veiled sacredness. (Poststructuralism)

By breathing life into one character, first as a man and then as a woman, Woolf creates Orlando and advances the he/she binary to overtly addresses the dichotomy between male and female activities in social, political and economic spheres.  “The binary division is so deeply implicated in the social production of space, in assumptions about the ‘natural’ and built environments and in the set of regulations which influence who should occupy which spaces and who should be excluded,” according to McDowell in Gender, Identity and Place. (McDowell, 1999)

Woolf’s literary transformation of the body of Orlando from male to female offers a vehicle for discussions about the gender roles of men and women. “Work on the body has also altered understandings of space, as it has become clear that spatial divisions – whether in the home or in the workplace, at the level of the city or the nation-state – are also affected by and reflected in embodied practices and lived social relations,” McDowell states. (McDowell, 1999)

French anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu stated that “men are presence in space and women are insignificance.” (McDowell, 1999). We see this dichotomy in Orlando as the protagonist moves from a stately, noble man, to a woman who strives to engage in the social scenes of London.

In the poststructural discussion of Foucault, Woolf’s Orlando typifies a breakthrough a heterotopias: “Heterotopias are linked for the most part to bits and pieces of time i.e., they open up through what we might define as pure symmetry of heterochronisms. The heterotopias enters fully into function when men find themselves in a sort of total breach of their traditional time.” (Poststructuralism). With chronological time interrupted by an individual who lives for several hundred hears, the heterotopia of Orlando emerges. Despite the dichotomy of he/she-ness found throughout the book, Woolf also leaves us with markers to indicate the sameness of men and women.

Woolf points to the individual’s memory and the character as devoid of altering a person’s identity. “The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity. Their faces remained, the portraits prove, practically the same. His memory – but in the future we must, for convention’s sake, say “her: for “his” and “she” for “he” – her memory then, went back through all of the events of her past life without encountering any obstacle. (Woolf, 1928)



McDowell, L. (1999). Gender, Identity and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Poststructuralism. (n.d.).

Woolf, V. (1928). Orlando. Orlando, FLA: Harcourt.




Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reflections on A Room of One's Own

As Virginia Woolf calls for women to equip themselves with a “Room of One’s Own” to write fiction, she sounds a trumpet for the strategic occupation of a woman’s private space. The occupation of this space may propel an intellectual movement evidenced by creativity, invention and outward expression that extends beyond the individual to propel social and economic ramifications.

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind,” Woolf writes in A Room of One’s Own. (Woolf, 1929) This freedom of mind, may manifest itself if the woman has the benefit of a place to “write” and earns 500 pounds a year. My research indicates that Woolf was talking about money that in today’s terms would equal $29,400, (Everything2, 2012) about $5k above the per capita income of South Carolina. In 2010.

Long considered a defining feminist manifesto situated in the first wave of feminism stretching from 1850 to 1930, some feminist commentary and suffrage advocates point out that Woolf viewed her class distinction as a stronger identifying force than her gender. “Of the two – the vote and the money – the money, I own, seemed infinitely more important,” Woolf writes in A Room of One’s Own. (Woolf, 1929)
On a personal level, I think my career path may have pleased Woolf. Just 61 years after her 1929 Room work, I got my first job as a daily newspaper reporter, making several hundred dollars a week. Even in 1990, I battled male reporters for meaningful assignments, taking me away from the skullduggery of covering things like the Miss South Carolina pageant. I wonder what she would think of the gender enrollment rates of colleges today or the ubiquity of blogs that allow women to communicate with audiences beyond their cities and countries. The writing outlets help modern women shape the economic, social and political happenings of our time.   

Scholar Julie Solomon asserts that the special metaphor in Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own  solidifies the meaning of the social and political existence of women. Solomon points out the modestness of Woolf’s feminist approach: “Woolf urges women to acquire economic, political and cultural power within institutions traditionally dominated by men,” Solomon writes. (Solomon, 1989).
To comprehend the spatial practices as work in A Room of One’s Own, we must further explore French theorist Michel DeCerteau’s point of view. By invoking DeCerteau, Solomon establishes a foundation for the tactical understanding of Woolf’s work. “Tactics can be used to subvert the established structure. But they can also function as behaviors of accommodation and conformity. The tactician, like the tightrope walker, can adapt and conform his/her behavior to the demands of an environment as well as subvert that environment.” (Solomon, 1989) For Woolf, the patterns of living, behaviors and tactics of everyday life may lead to subversion of the status quo.

Citing A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas as examples of DeCerteaunian tactical economies, Solomon writes: “In both essays Woolf advocates tactical practices with constitute the political alternatives of a subjugated group.” (Solomon, 1989). Through these tactical practices, we gain insights into Woolf’s point of view regarding the “danger” of masculizing women  in the process of equality.

As Bernice Carrol cites Woolf, “…If women took part in the existing institutions without severe conditions, they would end up as ‘female’ counterparts of Sir William Bradshaw and Mr. Ramsey.” (Carroll, 1978). Thus a scholar may aptly conclude that Woolf didn’t want women to turn into men, but rather, women may create an atmosphere to flourish as women.

Through these works we notice the tension between intellectual prowess and the spatial “box” where women resided, subjects of childbirth, childrearing and innumerable tasks of domesticicy, leaving little time for writing and intellectual contributions.  

In her fictional portrayal of Shakespeare’s sister, Judith, Woolf leads us down a path to understand the perilous predicament of a hypothetical woman poet born into a man’s body. “That woman, who was born with a gift of poetry in the sixteenth century, was an unhappy woman, a woman of strife against herself. All the conditions of her life, all her own instincts, were hostile to the state of mind which is needed to set free whatever is in the brain,” Woolf writes. (Woolf, 1929)

However, by carving a space of one’s own, the individual woman clears the canvas, giving her a space to where she may color her world with meaning.  A Room Of One’s Own creates a space within which women are not merely thoughts in a patriarchal brain … space is written by the mind and body in motion, assertions in subjectivity. It is also created by the mobile gaze, the countless individual points which re-write and challenge the spaces of panoptic or objectivizing eye. Those multiple, singular points of view, and the many ‘varieties of error’ through which space is written, lead to truth.” (Whitworth, 2007).
Through her own pen, Woolf gives rise to a new space that prompts interpretation and dialogue. Throughout the book, as Doyle writes, “All of her chapters situate us in places, libraries, restaurants, lecture halls – she brashly flaunts her power to imagine the world, the place on her own terms through her own body.” (Doyle, 2001)  “Woolf’s practice makes us feel that our relation to men and women unfolds through the world of things, through the real that we are suspended in as both dialectical selves and intercorporeal others.” (Doyle, 2001).

So, we come, we move, we write, we leave traces of our existence through scraps of work. For me, written relics of the past, such as a coffee table book, a master’s thesis, pamphlets and articles remain in cabinets. “Woolf forces us to live the tragic arc of the Daedalian fall from the sky, to live in the flight of being, despite the threat of exposure and entrapment it presents,” Doyle writes. (Doyle, 2001)



Carroll, B. A. (1978). To Crush Him in Our Own Country: The Political Thought of Virginia Woolf. Feminist Studies, 118.

Doyle, L. (2001). The Body Unbound: A Phenomenological Reading of the Political in A Room of Ones Own. Virginia Woolf Out of Bounds: Selected Papers from teh 10th Annual Conference on VIrginia Woolf (pp. 129-139). NYC: Pace.

Everything2. (2012, September 29). Retrieved from

Solomon, J. R. (1989). Staking ground: the politics of space in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas. Women Studies, 331-345.

Whitworth, E. A. (2007). Locating Woolf: The Politics of Space and Place . New York: Palgrave Macmillan .

Woolf, V. (1929). A Room of One's Own . Orlando: Harcourt Brace and Company .



Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Abandoned House in To The Lighthouse: More than Dusty Drawers, Mouse Droppings and Overgrown Grass

Poor 70-year-old Mrs. McNab struggled to pull the cobwebs out of the Ramsey Home in To The Lighthouse attempting to restore the house to presentable grandeur. This was no easy task for an aging woman battling “too much work for one woman,” in a place that had stood for “all of these years without a soul in it.” (Woolf, 1981)

Yet the house remained, suspended in time from the day the residents left. Showing multiple signs of deterioration Wool f illustrated the decay with many mice, the leaky roof and the moldy books. “The house was left; the house was deserted. It was left like a nutshell on a sand hill to fill with dry salt grains now that the life had left it,” Woolf writes. (Woolf, 1981) Woolf underscores the abandonment of the house, once bustling with the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey and their children, as she writes, “The rain came in. But they never sent; never came.”  Just  29 lines later, Woolf repeats the passage with a slightly varied word choice: “They never sent. They never wrote.” (Woolf, 1981).

The abandonment of this house conjures many speculative representations for me. Perhaps the closed house “died” along with the strong maternal figure, Mrs. Ramsey, who simultaneously passed away in London. Or the house may signify an “end of an era” or a “loss of innocence” as World War I waged on.  The fact that the home “stood still in time,” indicates an arresting of progress, a subsequent deterioration. In this sense, the exterior structure may represent the aging patriarch, Mr. Banks, or the retirement of the Victorian era.  

As Mrs. McNab battles the abandoned abode and eventually enlists the help of Mrs. Bast, readers find McNab particularly troubled by the inattentiveness of the residents to care for their personal items.  “But people should come themselves; they should have sent somebody down to see. For there were clothes in the cupboards; they had left clothes in the bedrooms.” (Woolf, 1981).

Gaston Bachelard offers insights into a potential motive for the residents to simply stash their belongings away and leave – it was an effort to preserve order. For Woolf characters, the effort may have been to preserve normalcy despite the matriarch’s death or the onslaught of war. “In the wardrobe, there exists a center of order that protects the entire house against uncurbed disorder. Here order reigns, or rather, this is the reign of order. Order is not merely geometrical; it can also remember the family history,” wrote Bachelard, in Poetics of Space. (Bachelard, 1964)
So inside the home, each family artifact remained in its designated position, awaiting the return of the inhabitants. While the cupboards concealed the clothes, hiding them from exposure, the abandoned house  transformed itself into a silent relic of a family that once was, a time that once existed and a vault of family memories.  
“Nothing it seemed could break that image, corrupt that innocence, or disturb the swaying mantle of silence which, week after week, in the empty room, wove into itself the falling cries of bird, ships, hooting, the drone and hum of the fields, a dog’s bark, a man’s shout and, folded them round the house in silence,” Woolf writes. (Woolf, 1981)
The task was left to Mrs. McNab and Mrs. Bast to inject life back into the house by dusting off the past and creating a place for the future. Woolf writes that the pair seemed “guided” by a force.  “But there was a whole force working; something not highly conscious; something that leered, something that lurched; something not inspired to go about its work with dignified ritual or solemn chanting.” (Woolf, 1981) 
For Bachelard, this life-force may be explained by the fact that the home was inhabited by the two and would soon open its doors to the family once again. “A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space,” Bachelard writes.

With the grass cut, the carpets cleaned, the beds changed and the cobwebs eradicated, the house stood once again as a gathering point for the remaining Ramseys and awaited the return of Lily Briscoe. 

Works Cited

Bachelard, G. (1964). The Poetics of Space. New York: The Orion Press.

Woolf, V. (1981). To The Lighthouse. New York : Harcourt.



Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Memory of A Family's Space: A Soul Searching Journey for Virginia Woolf

“Certainly there she was, in the very centre of that great Cathedral space which was childhood; there she was from the very first.” (Woolf, Moments of Being , 1985)

The reading of Virginia Woolf’s works, Sketch of the Past and To the Lighthouse, in tandem with the French philosophical work Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard , generates multiple intersections for the reader. This entry will discuss the allegory of the house for the human soul, the role of human memory in conjuring scenes, the dichotomy of inside and outside, and the ability of Woolf to engage and move readers utilizing these techniques aptly documented by Bachelard.
 Bachelard sets the tone for the ten-chapter book in the introduction by unleashing a fundamental analogy.  “Our soul is like an abode. And by remembering the houses and rooms, we learn to “abide within ourselves. Now everything becomes clear, the house images move in both directions: they are in us as much as we are in them…” Bachelard writes.  (Bachelard, 1964)
Bachelard pays homage to Carl Jung who, “asks his readers to consider the comparison of a multistory house with a nineteenth century upper story, and a sixteenth century ground floor, first proposing the house as a tool for analysis of the human soul. ” (Bachelard, 1964)
This space classification occurs to the reader in Woolf’s Sketch of the Past as Woolf describes her family’s Hyde Park home as a “cage.” “She emphasizes the divisions of generations and interests of the house through space, in that her father, with his library on the top floor or the house ‘pure intellect’ and downstairs, her brothers, with the social world of parties and professions, as ‘pure convention.’ ” (Johnston, 2003)
While To the Lighthouse represents a fictional work, Mark Hussey writes, “Woolf consciously used her own childhood memories of summer vacations in St. Ives, Cornwall and Talland House …. and drew portraits of her parents, Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Stephen, in the figures of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey.” (Hussey, 1995)
In the Sketch of the Past, Woolf addresses the catharsis she experienced from creating To The Lighthouse. “But I wrote the book very quickly; and when it was written, I ceased to be obsessed with my mother. I no longer hear her voice. I do not see her,” Woolf writes. (Woolf, Moments of Being , 1985).  The details of Mrs. Ramsey replaced the remembrances of her own mother.
In To the Lighthouse Woolf provides intimate details of Mrs. Ramsey caring for her children, including her young needy James, while engaging with her husband and society. Bachelard states that individuals can conjure memories via place-based mechanism. “When we dream of the house we were born in, in the utmost depths of revery, we participate in the original warmth, in this well-tempered matter of the material paradise. This is the environment in which the protective beings live. We shall come back to the maternal features of the house,” Bachelard writes. (Bachelard, 1964)
This is certainly the case for Woolf who took a mental journey back in time to a familiar place that enabled her to generate rich memories and her mother.  As the narrator of To The Lighthouse, Woolf artfully detailed the lives of the Ramseys,  with glimpses of their marriage, the antics of children and teens, and domestic duties. Bachelard underscores the idea that “localization” of spaces and events triggers rich memories that individuals (and writers) can access for information and descriptions.  
 “Memories are motionless, and the more securely they are fixed in space, the sounder they are,” Bachelard writes.  “For a knowledge of intimacy, localization in the spaces of our intimacy is more urgent than the determination of dates,” according to Bachelard. (Bachelard, 1964).
Woolf offers insights about remembering scenes, “I find that scene making is my natural way of marking the past. A scene always comes to the top; arranged; representative. This confirms in me my instinctive notion – it is irrational; it will not stand to argument. ” (Woolf, Moments of Being , 1985)
Johnson points out that Woolf’s role as the narrator in Sketch of the Past catalyzes a “loss of innocence in the space” and produces a space for the spectator that allows for action and audience. (Johnston, 2003)
By establishing a dialectic of inside and outside, we may observe a partitioning of the domestic sphere and the public sphere in Woolf’s work.  “Outside and inside form a dialectic of division, the obvious geometry of which blinds us as soon as we bring it into play in metaphorical domains. It has the sharpness of the dialectics of “yes and no”, which decides everything,” Bachelard writes in the chapter titled, Dialectics of the Outside and Inside. (Bachelard, 1964) During Part I of To the Lighthouse, The Window, the protagonist moves from inside to outside, following along after her husband, watching over children and interacting with Lily.
Always attentive to her children, cautious of their feeling and her own words, Mrs. Ramsey expresses a sense of relief at the end of the day. “No, she thought …. Children never forget. For this reason, it was so important what one said, and what one did, and it was a relief when they went to bed. For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself.” (Woolf, 1927).
I was particularly tickled by this passage, as Mrs. Ramsey cleaned up James’ handiwork of hand cut magazine clippings, as it reminds me of the night-time ritual of getting my own little James to bed and experiencing a moment of pure silence.
 “But what a joy reading is, when we recognize the importance of these insignificant things, when we can add our own personal daydreams to the ‘insignificant 'recollections of the author! Then insignificance become the sign of extreme sensitivity to the intimate meanings that establish spiritual understanding between writer and reader,” states Bachelard. (Bachelard, 1964)


Bachelard, G. (1964). The Poetics of Space. The Orion Press, Inc. .
Hussey, M. (1995). Virginia Woolf A to Z. New York: Facts on File, Inc. .
Johnston, G. (2003). Politics of Restrospective Space in Virginia Woolf's Memoir "A Sketch of the Past" . Mapping teh self; space, identity, discourse in British autobiography, 285-296.
Woolf, V. (1927). To The Lighthouse. Harcourt: London.
Woolf, V. (1985). Moments of Being . New York: Harcourt, Inc. .

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Contemporary Prescriptions for Mrs. Dalloway's Characters

In the Virginia Woolf book, Mrs. Dalloway, Peter Walsh points to the ambulance speeding by as “one of the triumphs of civilization." (Woolf, 1925) As I contemplate the “triumphs of modern pharmacology,” I wonder what Mrs. Dalloway’s world would have looked like if the characters had the benefit of modern-day psychiatric drugs. What if the suicidal character Septimus could pop the anti-anxiety medication Paxil? Would he be able to satisfy his wife, Rezia, longing for children? Rezia herself may benefit from the wealth of fertility treatments, ovulation predictor kits and the like to facilitate the process once Septimus hallucinations subside.  
And what about Mrs. Dalloway, the leading lady of the book? We find her navigating from one society party to another, ensconced in the London social life, yet alienated from those around her. She too would probably benefit from  Prozac or Zoloft to smooth the edges of her tepid marriage, unrequited love for Peter Walsh and affections for Sally Seton.  For Mr. Dalloway, who wants to carry flowers to his wife and share his love, perhaps a dose of Viagra would fill the bill. Maybe then he could break the ice and cross over the cavernous space of alienation between them.
It is fun to muse over these contemporary prescriptions for these conditions brought to life in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, but this levity is quickly erased when one considers the serious psychological disorders at play in the book.  The range of psychological disorders runs throughout the 194-page book, including the devastating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) faced by Septimus.
Virginia Woolf writes life into Septimus’ condition with phrases such as “he did not feel,”  “even taste had no relish to him,” he suffered from sensations of falling into the flames,  and the whole world was clamoring, “kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself,” a self-fulfilling prophesy that comes true as the book unfolds. Despite doctors prescribing rest and proclaim, “there is nothing whatever the matter. ” (Woolf, 1925)
After serving as a distinguished soldier in World War I, Septimus faced a world of auditory hallucinations, disturbing dreams and visions that hampered any semblance of marital relationship with his wife, Rezia. After five years of marriage, she longed for children, an ill-fated dream of destiny.
Rezia’s plight and that of Dalloway showcase the stark alienation that these individual felt, based on Woolf’s character development.  For Rezia, the emotional vacancy abandonment swelled, “She had asked for help and been deserted… They had been deserted.” (Woolf, 1925)
For the flower carrying  Dalloway, the fear of rejection bubbled up into outward awkwardness. “Bearing his flowers like a weapon, Richard Dalloway approached her….still there was time for a spark between them…. (but he could not bring himself to say that he loved her; not in so many words).” (Woolf, 1925)
So many literary analyses draw lines between Septimus and Mrs. Dalloway as Woolf writes in the text, “She felt somehow very like him – the young man who had killed himself, she felt glad that he had done it; thrown it away.” (Woolf, 1925)
Yet I propose that lines may also connect the young wife Reiza and the high-society Dalloway who stood by their spouses, bound by vows of marriage, for better or worse.  They  both were entrapped by the rules of society, they longed for something more yet were forestalled by their spouse.  
And you may ask, what would the doctor order for Peter Walsh, the debonair cad who waltzes in and out of Clarissa Dalloway’s life? The pharmacy would fill his prescription for Rogaine to preserve his handsome mane.


Woolf, V. (1925). Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt .