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Religion, Secularism, and the Spiritual Paths of Virginia Woolf

Editors: Groover, Kristina K. (Ed.)

  • Studies the divergent spiritual paths seen in Woolf’s oeuvre, considering her essays, fiction, diaries, and letters
  • Interrogates modernist rationalism and the metaphysical in modernist literature
  • Addresses literature and religion broadly by considering Woolf’s engagement of spiritual ideas both within and outside of Christian traditions
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  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: February 7, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-32568-8
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Hardcover ¥12,635
price for Japan (gross)
  • Due: February 7, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-32567-1
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About this book

Religion, Secularism, and the Spiritual Paths of Virginia Woolf offers an expansive interdisciplinary study of spirituality in Virginia Woolf's writing, drawing on theology, psychology, geography, history, gender and sexuality studies, and other critical fields.  The essays in this collection interrogate conventional approaches to the spiritual, and to Woolf’s work, while contributing to a larger critical reappraisal of modernism, religion, and secularism. While Woolf’s atheism and her sharp criticism of religion have become critical commonplaces, her sometimes withering critique of religion conflicts with what might well be called a religious sensibility in her work. The essays collected here take up a challenge posed by Woolf herself:  how to understand her persistent use of religious language, her representation of deeply mysterious human experiences, and her recurrent questions about life's meaning in light of her disparaging attitude toward religion. These essays argue that Woolf's writing reframes and reclaims the spiritual in alternate forms; she strives to find new language for those numinous experiences that remain after the death of God has been pronounced.


About the authors

Kristina K. Groover is Professor of English at Appalachian State University, USA.  She is author of The Wilderness Within:  American Women Writers and Spiritual Quest (1999) and editor of Things of the Spirit:  Women Writers Constructing Spiritualities (2004).

Reviews

“Recent scholarship has begun to address the spiritual side of Virginia Woolf’s writing. The essays in this collection explore a wide range of religious contexts for Woolf’s work, including Quaker and feminist theology, Victorian antecedents such as Arnold and Hopkins, recent theories of secularism, and even Dostoevsky’s Russian Orthodoxy. Together, they paint a nuanced portrait of Woolf’s complex spiritual engagements in her major novels and many of her most important essays.” (Pericles Lewis, Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English, Yale University, USA, and author of Religious Experience and the Modernist Novel (2010))

“This important collection sheds new light on an ambiguity that has long puzzled readers of Virginia Woolf. Woolf considered belief in God ‘obscene’ and often characterized religion as a mask for avarice, cruelty, and worldly authority. Yet she also insisted that ‘the soul slips in’ to any scrupulous encounter with ‘reality,’ and W.H. Auden considered her writing to be an expression of ‘a religious, mystical view of life.’ These essays sharpen our understanding of the complex interplay between Woolf’s fidelity to the secular world and her exploration of the spiritual life.” (Matthew Mutter, Associate Professor of Literature, Bard College, USA, and author of Restless Secularism: Modernism and the Religious Inheritance (2017))

Religion, Secularism and the Spiritual Paths of Virginia Woolf is a timely and fascinating reworking of Woolf’s reputation for Godlessness, cutting across sterile oppositions such as religion and secularity, faith and reason, and the sacred and profane, to show the complexity and richness of her engagement with spirituality. It is a collection with many unexpected dimensions, foregrounding new and unusual approaches from enactment theology, cultural geography, and philosophy to the ethics of critique.” (Suzanne Hobson, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature, Queen Mary University of London, UK, and the author of Angels of Modernism: Religion, Culture, Aesthetics 1910-1960 (Palgrave, 2011))

Buy this book

eBook ¥7,300
price for Japan (gross)
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: February 7, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-32568-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover ¥12,635
price for Japan (gross)
  • Due: February 7, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-32567-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Religion, Secularism, and the Spiritual Paths of Virginia Woolf
Editors
  • Kristina K. Groover
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-32568-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-32568-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-32567-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 218
Topics