restricted access The Planes Made One Think: Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts and Invasion Literature


This essay reads Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts (1941) alongside the relatively underread genre of invasion fiction. Following modernist studies' recent turn toward interwar Britain's cultural anticipation of catastrophe, the essay foregrounds how Woolf's assumption of an imminent German invasion pervades her final novel. Juxtaposing Woolf's invasion motif with invasion literature reveals a shared skepticism toward English liberalism. Reading Acts in light of invasion clarifies Woolf's suspicion that liberalism is not only susceptible to but in fact fosters its destruction from invasion. Woolf's ambivalence toward her liberalism in the face of invasion, moreover, is inherited by postwar liberal authors.