Talk “THE RESURRECTION OF THE AUTHOR: On Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction”

Join us for the English Literature Visiting Speaker event on Thursday 19 March when Dr Elizabeth Wright (Bath Spa University) will be speaking on “THE RESURRECTION OF THE AUTHOR: On Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction”. Details below.

The talk starts at 5.15 in 202, 4 University Gardens, with refreshments available from 5.

The lecture may be interesting for the students interested in IP because it will examine the contemporary authorship.

This lecture examines Maggie Gee’s latest novel Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014), with reference to other Woolfian resurrections as examples of postmodern author fiction. By engaging with contemporary critics of biofiction such as Harold Bloom, Martin Middeke and Laura E. Savu, I explore why contemporary authors have revived Virginia Woolf so frequently and what effect this has on their own writing and sense of authorship as well as the effect it has had on Woolf’s real-life legacy. The lecture explores the reasons why Gee amongst others has resurrected her most respected literary foremother in fictional form. I posit the idea that, in bringing Woolf back to life, authors are able to connect with her on a level creative playing field – entering her mind, trying on her body and testing her language, imagery, structures, rhythms, patterns and narrative strategies. Unlike writers such as Cunnigham, Sellers and Nunez, Gee positions Woolf in the twenty-first century, and thus offers an alternative vision, not only of Woolf’s life, personality and work and their impact on her own writing, but also of contemporary issues and concerns such as the effects of technology, racism, criticism and raunch culture on the modern world. These texts open up questions surrounding the novelist’s responsibility to historical accuracy and faithfulness to truth which Woolf herself examined in her essays ‘The New Biography’ and ‘The Art of Biography’.
E.H. Wright is a playwright and senior lecturer in English and European Literature at Bath Spa University. Her most recent play Vanessa and Virginia (Play Dead, 2013) was nominated for five Off West End Awards. Her academic publications include a biography of Virginia Woolf (Hesperus 2011) and various articles covering the Bloomsbury Group, Joseph Conrad, Henrik Ibsen and Maggie Gee. She is currently researching a monograph and writing a play entitled ‘Suicide’s Symposium’.

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