Abstract

In the last century, British modernist studies have dealt increasingly with issues of class and gender. Yet, untill today, hardly any have scrutinized how race and nation are integral and intersecting elements in the perspectives of such prominent literary modernists as T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, or Virginia Woolf. This essay focuses on a set of six articles written by Woolf between 1931-1932 and titled The London Scene (1975a), in order to demonstrate how Woolf reclaims England from "great men" for the common (wo)man. I argue that maintaining distinctions between demos (the basis for democracy) and ethnos (the basis of ethnicity) is constitutive of English nationalism. I show how Woolf's act of reclamation is based simultaneously in an implicit racialization of the English self that was prevalent in her time. I juxtapose the views about England of contemporary political and literary figures as contrasts and comparisons to explicate how Woolf's gender and class politics is contingent upon her understanding of race that, in turn, is tied to English culture and nationhood.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 1-30
Launched on MUSE
2001-06-01
Open Access
No
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