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BOOK REVIEWS generalist audience. In the latter regard, it remains to be seen whether this, or any, collection will attract large numbers of academic readers to Lawrence in the immediate future. Reading and writing about Lawrence is rendered problematic by the perception, Fernihough acknowledges , that "Lawrence" actually has at least two reputations. While his reputation in the academy has plummeted in the past few decades because of his alleged sexism, racism, fascism, and probably a few other offenses against the political agendas of the academic world, his reputation outside the groves of academe appears to be well established. Accordingly, although they have deplored Lawrence's failure to attain the purity of their own politics, academics have some difficulty dealing with this refusal of our culture to share their demotion of Lawrence in the canon. At the same time that academics have conspired to "shun" Lawrence, as Gary Adelman has been pointing out, contemporary writers have been testifying to how important Lawrence has been to their own development as writers. Although they may find it unpalatable to acknowledge, academics, and not Lawrence, may be out of touch with contemporary culture. Earl G. Ingersoll ______________ SUNY College at Brockport Virginia & Leonard Natania Rosenfeld. Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. xiii + 215 pp. Cloth $40.00 Paper $16.95 THE GENERAL OUTLINES of the story told here are now familiar , perhaps overly so, but the tale is interesting enough to arrange its details in new configurations. Rosenfeld's study, then, while treading over some relatively well-known ground, offers perspectives on its contours . For one, her treatment of Leonard Woolf's fiction and life is serious and respectful, going some distance in his continuing recuperation from radical feminist myth as a baleful monster who was an almost relentlessly deleterious and eventually destructive influence on his wife. Rosenfeld's introductory chapter ably lays the ground for her later discussion. Rehearsing both the biographical and literary facts of the nascent relationship, she shows how works and lives were complexly interwoven in this marriage of true minds. On the whole, however, she is considerably more secure and deft on the literary output than the personal engagement, her own "outsider" stance as a contemporary American academic looking at the lives of the English upper-middle class 103 ELT 46 : 1 2003 during the Edwardian and Georgian periods disabling some of her observations . The nuances and subtleties that inflected both the intensely private and resolutely English world of the Woolfs' marriage are to some extent over-read, misunderstood, or simply passed by. One misses, moreover, a healthy skepticism about the sources of information for the intensely private world of this marriage: Woolf's self-representation in her letters and diaries was carefully composed for and played to a number of audiences including a highly chameleon self. Outsiders are very "in" these days, and Leonard Woolfs Jewishness serves to mark him as one. Although he is on record as being little concerned about this cultural identity, Rosenfeld insists on its enormous explanatory power and repeatedly over-reads its significance as a social marker in the English context. The phrase "impecunious Jew," Virginia Woolf's own shock value phrase to describe her fiancé, is invoked more than once in the description of the early relationship, but its social implications are missed utterly. Woolf was "impecunious" because he was not a member of the landed classes, with which Miss Stephen so freely and frequently mingled, and could count on no inheritance. The product of a good public school, a Cambridge graduate, and a former civil servant with excellent references from his seven-year stint as a civil servant in Ceylon, Leonard Woolf, who enjoyed considerable intellectual capital as well as good connections, was hardly destined for Hyde Park's benches. Virginia Woolf's credentials as an "outsider" are more readily established . A politicized woman in a patriarchal society, an intellectual with little formal education, sexually unorthodox, she is more easily pegged. What perhaps is most egregiously missed is how permeable the barriers were that Rosenfeld sees as secure and even impregnable. Both Leonard and Virginia Woolf moved effortlessly in and out of a various social circles...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 103-105
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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