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book Reviews ing" is a response to the first manned landing on the moon and emphasizes the power of the moon to stir the poet's imagination: "Auden's speaker insists that his moon always will remain private and inviolate. It is actually the moon's power to stir his imagination, especially concerning matters religious and moral, that the speaker is defending." Cheever concludes that "Neruda and Auden do respond enthusiastically to the fact of space travel, but their enthusiasm in effect produces warnings rather than paeans of praise." Despite the fact that there are a disturbing number of typographical errors in this volume, these essays are solid evidence of the intelligent, serious interest in H. G. Wells, in science fiction, and in fantasy. EARL E. STEVENS ________________ Loveland, Colorado Woolf as Feminist Naomi Black. Virginia Woolf as Feminist. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004. xiv + 247 pp. Cloth $47.50 Paper $19.95 PERHAPS none of Virginia Woolf's works has been so little loved and ill-understood as Three Guineas. It has neither the narrative charm nor the amiable sexual politics of A Room of One's Own, whose sequel it was once intended to be. Nor does it aspire to the stirring mythic power of A Room of One's Own, with its poignant fable of Shakespeare's sister , who perished for lack of material and social support for her artistic talent, and its commanding myth of the creative mind as androgynous. But now, thanks to Virginia Woolf as Feminist, Naomi Black's learned, tireless argument in favor of this deliberately obdurate work, readers may come to appreciate this most uncompromising of Woolf's feminist pronouncements. Black's major and sustained claim is that Three Guineas is an intrinsically feminist work whose anti-war attitudes cannot be disassociated from Woolf's assault on masculinist privilege and domination. Black is intent on recovering the revolutionary import of Woolf's linkage of war to patriarchal structures of domination, aggression, hierarchy, and the status culture that adorns and sanctifies them. She demonstrates how steadfast Woolf remained in her belief that militarism and war were necessary, not accidental, outcomes of patriarchy. Thus in her last published nonfictional work, "Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid," Woolf reasserted the general argument oïThree Guineas that disarmament was a futile hope unless men "try to conquer in themselves their fighting instinct, their subconscious Hitlerism." However sympathetic one may be to Woolf's feminism, this assertion seems rash 85 ELT 49 :1 2006 hyperbole, one hardly tolerable given the real menace of fascist dictatorships and the systematic horrors of the last century's totalitarian regimes. One can easily understand the reactions, ranging from baffled to appalled, of Three Guineas's contemporary readers. John Maynard Keynes "found it difficult not to lose his temper with a production that seemed to him so shrill, so foolish. So muddleheaded." Nigel Nicholson, son of Vita Sackville West and coeditor with Joanna Trautmann of Woolf's Letters, found its "argument weakened by inconsistency, incoherence , selective quotation and abandoned trails." Black doggedly responds to these criticisms and misgivings, many of them shared by present-day readers, by showing us the consistency and coherence of Woolf's particular arguments. She even turns these criticisms on their heads, arguing that Three Guineas is in some ways Woolf's most pragmatic work, "at once a consciousness-raising and a fund-raising appeal and program designed to promote middle class women's activism." In Black's account, then, Three Guineas is not just the centerpiece, but the logical outcome and consistent expression of Woolf's lifelong engagement with feminism. It is an account that early on confronts a serious complication—how to define Woolf's feminism without becoming tendentious or anachronistic. Black's solution is to distinguish between two general branches of feminist ideology: equity feminism, which seeks equal treatment for women and has found support among those of liberal, Marxist and socialist persuasions; and what she calls social feminism, which, while not denying the need for equity, emphasizes the difference between the way men and women experience the world, a difference that, once acknowledged and affirmed, can inspire social and political transformation. Woolf was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 85-88
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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