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ELT 49 : 1 2006 most controversial and, to many of her male readers, churlish aspects of the book—contribute to Woolf s argument. She notes that each of the photographs represents an actual person who would have been easily recognized by contemporary readers: the military figure, for instance, is Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, the hero of Mafeking and the founder of the Boy Scouts, shown in full dress uniform as colonel of the Thirteenth Hussars; the academic procession is headed by Stanley Baldwin, the former Prime Minister. Nothing better exemplifies the merits of Black's patient exposition than her gloss on the book's title. She first reminds us that the title signals Woolf's concern with gender and power, "and gendered power at that." She then provides us a gauge for estimating the actual purchasing power of three guineas, informing us that in the 1930s, three guineas "was the standard fee for a session with a prominent doctor." Black also observes that a guinea, which was coined out of Guinea gold and thus tainted by empire, is no longer an actual monetary coin; it is a unit of calculation, a monetary notional unit, in other words, a serviceable symbolic coin. These details, coupled with accurate paraphrase and citation of Woolf s arguments, give Black's study its quiet and insistent authority. Virginia Woolf as Feminist is, in some ways, an old-fashioned book. It advances its argument by careful research and scrupulous description. But it is also a book that has some new-fashioned, and urgent, literary and historical work to perform, as Black makes clear in the fervid argument she makes for Three Guineas's continuing relevance for feminism in the third millennium. She admits Woolf s relative neglect of sexuality and class in her feminist writings, issues that trouble our own time, but in return asks us to consider how much Woolf has to say about women's health issues and the racial politics that also preoccupy us. In closing, she refers to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya to impress upon us how the feminist objectives underwritten by Woolf's three guineas—"democratization, education, and public professional activity"—still represent a program for political transformation. Maria dibattista ________________ Princeton University Bloomsbury, Modernism & China Patricia Laurence. Lily Briscoe's Chinese Eyes: Bloomsbury, Modernism and China. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2003. xvii + 488 pp. $59.50 IT IS NOT EASY to describe the contents of this study whose trifurcated subtitle—Bloomsbury, Modernism and China—opens on to 88 book reviews three enormous subjects. It asks a large range of questions: when, why, and how did England begin to value China; what part did actual, represented or imagined Chinese landscapes play in British culture; how did Chinese art and decoration intertwine in the development of British modernism; how best to describe the space between nationalism and culture and consequently how to assess the different values placed on inferiority and subjectivity in two such different cultural spaces; how do Lily Briscoe's "Chinese eyes" function as a useful figure for the discovery of a new aesthetic space? More particularly what sorts of parallels, correspondences and connections can be drawn between the Chinese Crescent Moon group in the 1920s and 30s and Bloomsbury? Indeed, an underlying claim of this study is that in the conversations (letters, encounters) between travellers in both directions one can "retrieve the missing story of modernism." Patricia Laurence's book thus offers itself as a corrective to the absence of China in accounts of modernism. But where to begin, how to tell this story, indeed what is the story? It is, for the first while and then intermittently throughout, the account of Vanessa Bell's son Julian's year and a half at Wuhan University in the late 30s, his friendship/affair with Ling Shuhua, writer, artist, and, unfortunately in the event, wife of the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters. This episode, read through photographs and letters, particularly those of Julian and Vanessa, becomes a window onto both the intellectual, artistic, and political ferment in China and "the cultural needs concealed in the receptivity" of British writers and artists (Goldsworthy...


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pp. 88-92
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