Towards the end of her life, Woolf became increasingly interested in thinking animal life outside of an anthropocentric frame and in imagining a future beyond the time of the human. This essay analyzes Woolf’s use of metaphor in her unfinished final novel Between the Acts (1941) as a tool for critiquing the supposed universality of human-based modes of knowledge. Through the figure of the playwright Miss La Trobe, Woolf gestures towards the creation of a new language and a new artistic form capable of expressing the knowledge-resistant otherness of nature. I argue that the anti-fascist politics of Between the Acts, which have been noted by several critics, are inseparable from Woolf’s critique of human exceptionality and her attempt to create new, noninstrumental modes of relation towards the nonhuman world.


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pp. 491-513
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