The Intersecting Realities and Fictions of Virginia Woolf and Colette
What might the author of Mrs. Dalloway and A Room of One's Own have in common with the author of the Claudine series and The Pure and the Impure? Resisting long-held interpretations that Colette and Virginia Woolf had little in common, Southworth shows here the links between the two famous writers, both real and imagined. Often cast in their diametrically opposed roles of elitist bluestocking and risque music hall performer, critics have overlooked the many ways in which the lives and works of Woolf and Colette intersect. This study provides a broad-ranging introduction to the biographical, stylistic, and thematic ties that link the lives and works of Britain's and France's first ladies of letters of the early twentieth century. Situating the two writers within an international network of artists and literati, including Jacques-Emile Blanche, Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge. Winnie de Polignac, Gisele Freund, Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis, this study complicates conceptions of the differences--national, sexual, cultural, and intellectual--which have kept these two women apart by placing these same differences at its center. Southworth develops work already undertaken on Woolf's contacts with France and adds to the body of comparative work on Woolf and her contemporaries. This study also highlights as yet unexplored connections between Colette and her British and American peers. Southworth's book makes a significant contribution to gay and lesbian studies and the study of modernist culture. It also demonstrates the potential of social network theory for literary studies.
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