Category Archives: Holtby, Winifred

‘The Secret Fortresses of Her Mind’: Winifred Holtby, The Land of Green Ginger

Once again, I’ve finished a book from my Somerville cluster feeling, paradoxically, both engaged and adrift: it’s as if these novels have their own idiolect, their own set of terms and meanings and tropes that are related to the ones … Continue reading

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South Riding: They like it! They really, really like it!

I’ve just finished rereading South Riding, ready for our final discussion of the novel in the Somerville seminar tomorrow. I was caught up in it both intellectually and emotionally, more than I was when I first read it last spring. Rereading … Continue reading

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This Week In My Classes: Love Poems and Social Novels

In English 1000, we’ve started our first poetry unit. We’ll be doing more poetry after Christmas, organized into what I hope will be provocative thematic clusters, but for now we’re just working through the basics of reading and analyzing poetry … Continue reading

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“She is in love with life”: Winifred Holtby’s Virginia Woolf: A Critical Memoir

In my post on Vera Brittain’s Testament of Friendship, I quoted a passage Brittain includes from Holtby’s letters, addressing her decision to write a critical biography of Virginia Woolf: I took my courage and curiosity in both hands and chose … Continue reading

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Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas

It’s hard to spot similarities between Virginia Woolf and the Somerville novelists I’ve been looking at if you focus on Woolf’s fiction. Winifred Holtby wrote a book about Woolf, and as I noted in my post about Testament of Friendship, … Continue reading

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The Summer of Somerville

Now that the dust has mostly settled from the teaching term, I’ve begun organizing my plans for the summer. One of my top priorities is preparing for my new seminar on ‘The Somerville Novelists,’ which is the first official academic … Continue reading

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“The Awfulness of a Life Where Nothing Ever Happens”: Winifred Holtby, The Crowded Street:

Only the last section of The Crowded Street – a mere 16.5 pages – is named for the novel’s protagonist, Muriel Hammond. Each of the other sections is named for another woman whose life preoccupies and dominates Muriel’s: first her … Continue reading

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