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Virginia Woolf: Various Thematic and Critical Approaches to her Works

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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Week 1 (February 16): Introduction to Woolf

Reading: “22 Hyde Park Gate,” “Old Bloomsbury”

Week 2 (February 23): Woolf and theories of materiality

Reading: short fiction – “The Mark on the Wall,” “Solid Objects,” “The Fascination of the Pool,” “A Simple Melody”

Week 3 (March 2): Woolf and the poetics of space and time

Reading: Mrs Dalloway

Week 4 (March 9): Woolf and psychoanalysis

Reading: To the Lighthouse

Week 5 (March 16): Woolf, queer theory, and the concepts of identity

Reading: Orlando

Week 6 (March 23): Woolf and feminism

Reading: A Room of One´s Own

Week 7 (March 30): Woolf and animal studies

Reading: Flush,“Kew Gardens”

Week 8 (April 6): Woolf, ecocritical thought and consumerism

Reading: essays “An Evening Over Sussex: Reflections in a Motor Car,” “The Docks of London,” “Flying over London,” “Thunder at Wembley,” “Oxford Street Tide”

Week 9 (April 13): Woolf and the “proto-postmodern” and “postcolonial” novel

Reading: The Waves

Week 10 (April 20): Woolf and posthumanism

Reading: “Time Passes” (To the Lighthouse), natural interludes from The Waves, essay “The Sun and the Fish”

Week 11 (April 27): Woolf and her personal philosophy

Reading: “A Sketch of the Past,” “The New Biography,” “On Being Ill,”

Week 12 (May 4): Woolf, the war and pacifism

Reading: Three Guineas

Week 13 (May 11): Woolf and community

Reading: Between the Acts


This course focuses on the modernist woman writer Virginia Woolf and her novels, short fiction, and essays. Its objective is not only to introduce the author’s opus as it gradually evolved stylistically and thematically but mainly to provide an insight into contemporary critical approaches to her fiction.

In this way, the students will be encouraged to explore various critical frames which they might later apply to their own research. Moreover, this conception of the seminar allows students to discover the diversity of methodological approaches that might be utilized in relation to a single author.

The first sessions of the seminar will focus on Woolf´s short fiction in relation to object-oriented ontology and process philosophy, her masterpiece To the Lighthouse read from psychoanalytic perspective, the novel Orlando related to queer theory and concepts of identity and her feminist manifesto A Room of One´s Own, which would introduce the feminist thought. The following sessions would be concerned with Woolf´s novel The Waves and its proto-postmodern nature and concept of interpersonal identity, animal studies in relation to Flush, a biography narrated from a dog’s point of view, posthuman nature of the passage “Time Passes” and natural interludes in The Waves and Woolf´s proto-ecological thinking and discussion of consumerism in several of her essays.

The last sessions would focus on Woolf´s philosophy of interconnection outlined in “A Sketch of the Past” and further developed in Three Guineas and Between the Acts. As a result, the seminar provides a summary of critical approaches to Woolf’s works and at the same time analyses the topics of materiality, gender, the posthuman, social justice and community that have dominated recent conferences and academic papers on Woolf.

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