The Sensuous Pedagogies of Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence

BookThe Sensuous Pedagogies of Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence

The Sensuous Pedagogies of Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence

Clemson University Press

2020

May 31st, 2020

£85.00

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Though the differences in style and politics between Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) are many, they both had formative experiences as teachers. Between 1905 and 1907, Woolf taught history and composition courses at Morley College while Lawrence spent nearly a decade in the field of elementary education between 1902 and 1912. The Sensuous Pedagogies of Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence reframes Woolf and Lawrence’s later experiments in fiction, life-writing, and literary criticism as the works of former teachers, of writers (that is) still preoccupied with pedagogy. More specifically, the book argues that across their respective writing careers they conceptualize problems of teaching and learning as problems of sensation, emotion, or intensity. But the “sensuous pedagogies” Woolf and Lawrence depict and enact are not limited to classroom spaces or strategies; rather, they pertain to non-institutional relationships, developmental narratives, spaces, and needs. Friendships and other intimate relationships in Lawrence’s fiction, for instance, often take on a pedagogical shape or texture (one person playing the student; the other, the teacher) while Woolf’s literary criticism models a novel approach to taste-training that prioritizes the individual freedom of common readers (who must learn to attend to books that give them pleasure). In addition, Sensuous Pedagogies reads Lawrence’s literary criticism as reparative, Woolf’s fiction as sustained feminist pedagogy, and their respective theories of life and love as fundamentally entangled with pedagogical concerns.

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Author Information

Benjamin D. Hagen is an assistant professor of English at the University of South Dakota. He teaches courses in modernist literature and the history of literary criticism and theory. His work on Woolf has appeared in the journals Virginia Woolf Miscellany, Modernism/modernity, and PMLA as well as in several edited collections (including Sentencing Orlando: Virginia Woolf and the Morphology of the Modernist Sentence [2018, Edinburgh UP] and The Handbook to the Bloomsbury Group [2018, Bloomsbury]). His scholarship addresses a range of research areas, including modernist literature and pedagogy, affect studies, discourses on love, and depictions of aging across modernist poetry.