“And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally, this is so. Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are ‘important’; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes ‘trivial’. And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing room.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Just because my undying and near-pathological love for my girl Virginia has not come up lately, and because I thought it was brilliant and was so flattered that sylviawrath posted this and linked back to my blog! (Here is a fun parenthetical tangentially related side story: one time in college I got in trouble for snapping at some imbecile who referred to A Room of One’s Own as a “dreadful tome” and got politely asked by the professor to leave and collect myself for a moment before returning to class, I am totally serious and yes I think I am bragging about this, please forgive me.)
In addition to the above lovely little quote we also must of course not forget my OTHER undying and near-pathological love for Jeanette Winterson, who COINCIDENTIALLY has written some very smart things about my girl Virginia, about her books, and about what other people say about her books, such as:
Woolf’s fiction has been overwhelmed by facts. Her diaries have given licence to a kind of perpetual commentary on every aspect of her being, who she knew, what she wore, how many times a week she washed her hair (I am not making this up), if a different Oxford Street would have meant a different Mrs Dalloway, whether or not she had sex with Vita Sackville West. Did she have sex with Leonard? Was she abused? And so on until a play on the facts warps into a documentary of factoids. Under the stress of this tabloid-style scholarship, her books disappear….
…Art into autobiography is bad enough but Critical Theory is worse. If you are very smart, like Ellmann or Julia Kristeva, you can summon up a hypertext that floats over the original like an astral body - connected, clear, unobscuring. If you are not smart - and Theory seems to attract the mentally challenged - then all we hear is a kind of intestinal groaning, length after length of tortured sentences coiled round a fugitive idea.
No one can read this rubbish except perhaps other academics squatting over the same pail. They sign to each other but they make no sense to us. If this was rocket science it might be excusable but the special knowledge needed for art is of the communicable kind. Art is communication.
I felt that while Virginia Woolf’s work needs nothing added, it does need some weight taken away. She has been hi-jacked by so many self-interest groups - feminists, theorists, modernists, historicists etc., that it is difficult to come to the work in its own right, on its own terms.
And now that that’s over, OH MY GOD YOU GUYS HOW GREAT HAS PFW BEEN SO FAR I HAVE BEEN PRACTICALLY IN TEARS OVER HOW GOOD EVERYTHING HAS BEEN OH MY GOD BALMAIN YOHJI RICK GARETH CMG JUNYA GAULTIER NINA RICCI HAIDER TAO GIVENCHY EVERYTHING DYING