10-4 lecture Woolf

10-4 lecture Woolf - We left off last time with D H...

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We left off last time with D. H. Lawrence’s pessimism about England in the wake of the Great War, the sense that the encroachment of modernity, of regimentation and urbanization, has made it impossible to access, there, the primal forces that he called the “blood-consciousness” Now, on the surface, no one could be more different from Lawrence than Virginia Woolf: --from the upper middle class, where he came from the working class --a Londoner, where he was a provincial --a woman who wrote passionately about the constraints of the patriarchy, where he, as we noted, saw independent women as one of the most unnatural aspects of modernity But important to realize that they are both operating out of the crisis that the Great War entailed, and that they both offer critiques of England in that postwar period that do, in some ways, overlap Similarity: as we’ll see, they share objection to the war, and to the militarism and regimentation more generally --remember in The Fox , Henry saw himself as a “huntsman” as something distinct from the role of “soldier” --here we’ll see the idea of regimentation as a pernicious force that pervades society and stifles individualism Difference: for Lawrence, that regimentation is part of what modernity has brought, what he wants to escape into primitivism --but for Woolf, the war is the final outgrowth of the
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Victorian repressive culture that she is criticizing, part of the outworn culture that is beginning to change --we see in Mrs Dalloway a culture in crisis because it is trying to pretend that nothing has changed with the war And yet the war has cut a vast gash through the middle of London —a wound no one will talk about, and that many pretend not to see. Nearly a million deaths, counting both military and civilian
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10-4 lecture Woolf - We left off last time with D H...

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