From the “prying,” “insidious” “fingers of the European War” that Septimus Warren Smith would never be free of in Mrs Dalloway to the call to “think peace into existence” during the Blitz in “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid,” questions of war and peace pervade the writings of Virginia Woolf. This volume asks how Woolf conceptualised peace by exploring the various experimental forms she created in response to war and violence. Comprised of fifteen chapters by an international array of leading and emerging scholars, this book both draws out theoretical dimensions of Woolf’s modernist aesthetic and draws on various critical frameworks for reading her work, in order to deepen our understanding of her writing about the politics of war, ethics, feminism, class, animality, and European culture.
The chapters collected here look at
how we might re-read Woolf and her contemporaries in the light of new
theoretical and aesthetical innovations, such as peace studies, post-critique,
queer theory, and animal studies. It also asks how we might historicise these
frameworks through Woolf’s own engagement with the First and Second World Wars,
while also bringing her writings on peace into dialogue with those of others in
the Bloomsbury Group. In doing so, this volume reassesses the role of Europe
and peace in Woolf’s work and opens up new ways of reading her oeuvre.