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The politics of space and place in Virginia Woolf's The years, Three guineas, and The Pargiters


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The politics of space and place in Virginia Woolf's The years, Three guineas, and The Pargiters
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Jiménez, Ángel
University of South Florida
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Tampa, Fla
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Textual space
Dissertations, Academic -- English -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
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ABSTRACT: A critique of the social construction of space was fundamental to Virginia Woolf's overall feminist project of decentering patriarchal and imperial values. In A Room of One's Own (1929) Woolf famously emphasized that financial independence and a private space were vital to female creativity. But Woolf was concerned with the politics of space throughout her writing, an aspect of her thought that has not been widely addressed. My thesis examines Woolf's ongoing preoccupation with spatiality in two closely related works of her late career, The Years (1937) and Three Guineas (1938). In these texts, Woolf interrogates the cultural construction of private and public realms as mutually exclusive, with domestic space being women's proper place and public space as the territory of men.Some critics stress Woolf's portrayal of the imbrication of urban space and individual consciousness in The Years, but tend to overlook the action of the English countryside and its influence on subjectivity. Also overlooked by critics is the way that the deployment of textual space in Three Guineas, and the intertextual connections between The Years and Three Guineas-which were originally conceived of as one text entitled The Pargiters-develop Woolf's critique of the politics of space. My argument draws on key texts of sociology, geography and cultural theory that address the construction of space and place. Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space (1974), Doreen Massey's Space, Place and Gender (1994), and Susan Stanford Friedman's Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter (1998) frame my discussion and help to show how The Years and Three Guineas unsettle dominant spatial dualisms: public/private, here/there, home/abroad, and inside/outside.In doing so these works foreground the relationship between subjectivity and space and demonstrate how space is produced through ideology and practice. In addition I show how Woolf's dramatization of social spaces as mobile and interpenetrating illustrates the interface between constructions of family, nation, and empire.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Angel Jimenez.
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The politics of space and place in Virginia Woolf's The years, Three guineas, and The Pargiters
h [electronic resource] /
by Angel Jimenez.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 66 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: A critique of the social construction of space was fundamental to Virginia Woolf's overall feminist project of decentering patriarchal and imperial values. In A Room of One's Own (1929) Woolf famously emphasized that financial independence and a private space were vital to female creativity. But Woolf was concerned with the politics of space throughout her writing, an aspect of her thought that has not been widely addressed. My thesis examines Woolf's ongoing preoccupation with spatiality in two closely related works of her late career, The Years (1937) and Three Guineas (1938). In these texts, Woolf interrogates the cultural construction of private and public realms as mutually exclusive, with domestic space being women's proper place and public space as the territory of men.Some critics stress Woolf's portrayal of the imbrication of urban space and individual consciousness in The Years, but tend to overlook the action of the English countryside and its influence on subjectivity. Also overlooked by critics is the way that the deployment of textual space in Three Guineas, and the intertextual connections between The Years and Three Guineas-which were originally conceived of as one text entitled The Pargiters-develop Woolf's critique of the politics of space. My argument draws on key texts of sociology, geography and cultural theory that address the construction of space and place. Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space (1974), Doreen Massey's Space, Place and Gender (1994), and Susan Stanford Friedman's Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter (1998) frame my discussion and help to show how The Years and Three Guineas unsettle dominant spatial dualisms: public/private, here/there, home/abroad, and inside/outside.In doing so these works foreground the relationship between subjectivity and space and demonstrate how space is produced through ideology and practice. In addition I show how Woolf's dramatization of social spaces as mobile and interpenetrating illustrates the interface between constructions of family, nation, and empire.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Elizabeth Hirsh, Ph.D.
Textual space
0 690
Dissertations, Academic
x English
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.


The Politics of Space and Place in Virginia Woolf’s The Years Three Guineas and The Pargiters by ngel Luis Jimnez A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Elizabeth Hirsh, Ph.D. Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D. Shirley Toland-Dix, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 19, 2009 Keywords: public, private, home, subjectivity, textual space Copyright 2009, ngel Luis Jimnez


I dedicate this Masters Thesis to my abuelos Lucy and Mario Castro.


Acknowledgements Although my name is on the cover, this thesis is the produc t of the insight, encouragement, patience, and generosity of Dr. Elizabeth Hirsh, to whom I am forever indebted. Many thanks are also due to my readers Drs. Shirley Toland-Dix and Gurleen Grewal for their perceptive feedback. Main taining perspective dur ing tough times would have been impossible without Dr. Joyce Ka rpay, whose warmth and laughter always made things seem not so bad after all. Fina lly, I would like to thank my family and close friends for the love that they give to me and the love that they accept from me.


i Table of Contents Abstract ii Chapter One – Introduction: Virginia Woolf and the Politics of Sp ace 1 Chapter Two – Space and Place in The Years 13 Chapter Three – Textual Space and Geopolitics in Three Guineas 35 Chapter Four – Conclusion: Textual Dis/ Junction, Textual Con/Junction: 48 The Pargiters The Years and Three Guineas Notes 58 Works Cited 60 Bibliography 63


ii The Politics of Space and Place in Virginia Woolf’s The Years Three Guineas and The Pargiters ngel Jimnez ABSTRACT A critique of the social construction of space was fundamental to Virginia Woolf’s overall feminist project of decente ring patriarchal and imperial values. In A Room of One’s Own (1929) Woolf famously emphasize d that financial independence and a private space were vital to female creativ ity. But Woolf was concer ned with the politics of space throughout her writing, an aspect of her thought that has not been widely addressed. My thesis examines Woolf’s ongoi ng preoccupation with spatiality in two closely related works of her late career, The Years (1937) and Three Guineas (1938). In these texts, Woolf interrogates the cultural c onstruction of private a nd public realms as mutually exclusive, with domestic space bei ng women’s proper place and public space as the territory of men. Some critics stress Woolf’s portrayal of the imbrication of urban space and individual consciousness in The Years but tend to overlook the action of the English countryside and its influence on subjec tivity. Also overlooked by critics is the way that the deployment of textual space in Three Guineas and the intertextual connections between The Years and Three Guineas —which were originally conceived of as one text entitled The Pargiters —develop Woolf’s critique of the politics of space. My argument draws on key texts of soci ology, geography and cultu ral theory that address the construction of space and place. Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space


iii (1974), Doreen Massey’s Space, Place and Gender (1994), and Susan Stanford Friedman’s Mappings: Feminism and the Cultu ral Geographies of Encounter (1998) frame my discussion and help to show how The Years and Three Guineas unsettle dominant spatial dualisms: public/private, here /there, home/abroad, and inside/outside. In doing so these works foreground the relati onship between subjectivity and space and demonstrate how space is produced through ideology and practice. In addition I show how Woolf’s dramatization of social spaces as mobile and interpenetrating illustrates the interface between constructions of family, nation, and empire.


1 Chapter One: Introduction Virginia Woolf and the Politics of Space In recent decades the interdisciplinar y field of space studies has challenged received notions that construct space as, in Michel Foucault’s words, “the dead, the fixed, the undialectical, the immobile” (70). Geogr aphers, sociologists, philosophers and cultural critics have contributed to this ongoi ng critique. As Henri LeFebvre observes in his groundbreaking work The Production of Space (1974), representations of space as static derive in part from Immanuel Kant who described space as both a pre-existing void filled up by human activity and a reified thing (2-3). Lefebvre instead argues that space is culturally and historically construc ted and therefore imbued with ideology. As Marx theorized that in the logic of the co mmodity reification obscures the relations of production, LeFebvre asserts that “(social) space is a (social) product” so that “any space implies, contains, and dissimulates social relationships” (Lefebvre 26; 82-83). One example of Lefebvre’s approach, cited by th e cultural critic Rob Shields, is the articulation of geographical spa ce in capitalist societies as “‘spatialized’ as lots—always owned by someone.” As Shields observes, “a privatized notion of space anchors the understanding of property” (210). Since the appearance of Lefebvre’s tome Marxists and other theorists have further explored the relationship between sp ace and social relations. For Fredric Jameson, the overlapping of social space and social relations can be seen in a “postmodern hyperspace” such as the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, a space that reproduces “the


2 great global multinational and decentered comm unicational network” that constitutes contemporary capitalism (1972). Similarly, A llen Scott and Edward Soja read the “reinforcement of private business control ov er the economic development of L.A.” as a way of spatially segregating blacks and Mexican s from a white majority (10). In addition to the spatial analysis of race and class, the flourishing of femi nist geographies has enlarged space studies to account for the sign ificance of gender in the production of space and vice versa. Doreen Massey, for instan ce, underscores how gender and identity intersect with spatiality in the long-standi ng Western practice of restricting women to domestic space. This “was both a specifically spatial control and, through that, a social control on identity” (179), she notes. Linking space, gende r, and subjectivity, Massey enlarges space studies to accommodate “pl ace,” since for her both space and place are closely related. “If space is conceptualized . as taki ng the form not of some abstract dimension but of the simultaneous coexistence of social interrelations at all geographical scales,” then place can be thought of as “constr ucted out of a particular constellation of social relations, meeting and weaving together at a particular locus. . a unique point of their intersection,” suggests Massey (168; 154). Place, then, is the specific site where th e social relations that constitute space interact. This locationa l aspect of place, however, can underwrite dominant constructions of place as defined by “stability and a rea ssuring boundedness” (Massey 169). A sense of “boundedness” often accompanies no tions of a self-derived au thentic identity of place. Given that boundaries are often used to dich otomize here/there, inside/outside and the correlary insiders/outsiders, Timothy Cresswell notes that “[p]lace, at a basic level, is space invested with meaning in the context of power” (12). The feminist geographer


3 Linda McDowell suggests that “[p]laces are made through power relations which construct the rules that defi ne boundaries. These boundaries are both social and spatial. . .” (4). But like social space, place should be thought of as processual and fluid in that “the identity of place is in part constructe d out of . interrelations with elsewhere” (Massey 169). Rather than inscribing places as bounded and thus antagonistic toward the “outside,” “the presence of the outside within which helps to construct the specificity of the local place” must be affirmed (Massey 170, emphasis added). In Woolf Studies, attention to Woolf’s tr eatment of space coincided with the reemergence of critical interest in her work during the 1970s. Notably, Elaine Showalter’s A Literature of Their Own (1977) criticized Woolf’s privileging of domestic space in A Room of One’s Own (1929), arguing that this influen tial symbol ultimately dissociates women from a socially and politically engage d life. Other critics, such as Julie Robin Solomon, have contested Showalter’s view, posi ting instead that “‘the room’ serves as a potent political metaphor for women because it concretizes visually, tactilely the politicization of the pe rsonal and the personalization of the political” (331-2). This debate epitomizes the most salient feature of scholarsh ip devoted to Woolfian space: a sustained focus on the relationship between domestic a nd public space, considered both materially and metaphorically. However, Woolf’ s writings of the 1930s, including The Years (1937) and Three Guineas (1938), have received less attention in this regard than her work of the 1920s— A Room of One’s Own or Mrs. Dalloway (1925), for instance. My thesis will spotlight depictions of space in The Years and Three Guineas as equally important to a better understanding of Woolf’s e volving cultural politics. This chapter will situate these


4 works in Woolf’s career and survey existing scholarship about them in order to contextualize my argument. In the early 30s Woolf had worked to create a new literary form that could accommodate two disparate types, what she id entified as “the novel of fact” and “the novel of vision” ( Diary 4: 129). This experimental wo rk was provisionally entitled The Pargiters As Jane Marcus explains, the te xt that would eventually become The Years was “originally conceived as a se ries of fictional chapters to be interleaved with factual chapters from Three Guineas ” ( xlv ). Ultimately, Woolf decided that the combination was, as Eleanor McNees writes, “an irreconcilable collision of genres” in that the “factual” essays smacked of didacticism ( xli ; l ). Wishing to avoid the aut horitarian pitch that often accompanies didactic writing, Woolf concluded that in order to best articulate her concerns, a formal separation of fact and fiction was necessary. As in much of her fiction, in The Years Woolf foregrounds the interconnection between family and nation. Depicting political and social change in England from 1880 to 1937, The Years chronicles the adaptation of one mi ddle-class family, the Pargiters, to the cultural transformations that marked th e shift from a Victorian to a modern world. The novel charts the movement of middle-cla ss women from the oppre ssive confines of the private house to the public realm, the gradual dissolution of th e British Empire, and the emergence of possibilities for a nation that values differences in gender, class, race, and sexuality. Structurally, the nove l is divided into eleven chap ters titled afte r the year in which the action of each section take s place. Although she once said that The Years was intended to be a “novel of fact,” Woolf in troduces each chapter by, in McNees’s words, “blend[ing] poetic description with specific ma terial fact to draw the reader forward


5 chronologically and at the same time to fu se the linear progressi on of the years with spatial depictions of weather and seasons” ( liv ). Woolf’s critique of familial and soci al relations took a unique turn with Three Guineas Foregrounding the relationship betwee n patriarchy, fascism, war, and the subjugation of women, Wool f’s “ferocious political pamphlet” (Marcus lvii ) initially takes form as a response to a letter from a male barrister who asks ‘how are we to prevent war?’ but also gradually integr ates answers to letters from other correspondents soliciting her help, such as an honorary treasurer of a woman’s coll ege. Addressing her response not only to the barrister but also to what Woolf insisten tly calls “the daughters of educated men”—members of her own class--W oolf develops a polemic that underscores the imbrication of masculinis t values and war-making. Aggr essivity, competitiveness, territoriality, privatized propert y—all of these traits that Wool f associates with patriarchal values serve to perpetuate war. Not onl y does she reveal the inherent violence of patriarchal values, Woolf cautions women who are entering or have entered the professions against reproducing masculinist values. Her resp onse to the author of the letter from the women’s college, for example, stresses that women participating in the public sphere are obligated to challenge and transform patriarchal values in order to prevent—and not provoke—war. Moreover, Wool f’s most explicit connection of fascism abroad with despotism at home emerges when she demonstrates the similarities between quotes taken from Hitler and Mussolini, on one hand, and male English public figures, on the other, both of which na turalize women’s relegation to domestic space (66; 166). In addition, Woolf exploits the scholarly conven tion of footnoting in order to develop a history of women’s participat ion in social and political life from the domestic realm


6 (Marcus lix ). Woolf also ransacks newspapers for photographs of English patriarchs in both military and academic ceremonial dress in an effort to deflate the grandeur associated with these cultural signifiers and to emphasize the vast amounts of money spent on ornamenting these men. Both The Years and Three Guineas were published toward the end of Woolf’s career, and both continue a legacy of social critique that Woolf initiated with her first works. Her two early “apprentice” novels, The Voyage Out (1915) and Night and Day (1919), develop (mostly) through the conventions of realism, the Bildungsroman structure (albeit in an aborted form) of The Voyage Out for example. But even at this more conventional stage of her career Woolf was already critical of the relationship between the family and the nation. Enlargi ng her investigation of treatment of the entwinement of family and nation, Woolf th roughout the 1920s also experimented with unconventional forms that could better communicate modern experience after the wreckage wrought by World War I. The 20s novels Jacob’s Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928) crystallize Woolf’s formal “modernism” in employing non-linear temporal patterns, emphasis on individual psychology, unannounced perspectival shifts, and an overall sense of narrational dislocation relative to the c onventions of novelistic realism. Her heightened attention to aesthetic innovation did not re sult in a subordinated social critique, however. Instead the novels of the 20s “began to articulate a nd illuminate the connections between the patriarchal status quo, the relatively subordi nate position of women, and war making,” Mark Hussey notes ( xiv ). This period also marks the height of Woolf’ s popularity during her lifetime. A Room of One’s Own one of Woolf’s most popular texts, would be the last


7 of the longer works published in the 20s, while The Waves (1931) is generally regarded as the last of Woolf’s full-b lown experimental novels. Following The Waves Woolf experimented with re presenting animal subjectivity in Flush (1933) while continuing her critique of family and nation. The remainder of the works published in the 30s, The Years and Three Guineas show us a more realistic and a more explicitly political Woolf conscious of the rise of fascism in Europe and the inevitable carnage it would bring. The th reat of annihilation posed by the oncoming Second World War proved immensely stressful for Woolf, and this coupled with her struggle with mental illness may have led to her suicide in 1941. Just before her death Woolf was putting the finish ing touches on the novel that would be published posthumously as Between the Acts (1941). Critical interest in Woolf’s fiction, which peaked in the 20s, waned during the years follo wing her death to be revived in the late 1960s with the rise of academic feminism a nd literary theory (Snaith 3). Today, critical approaches to Woolf are polyvocal, and Woolf Studies has become an academic mainstay. As Anna Snaith obser ves, “the plurality of approaches to Woolf speaks to the richness of her writing” (1). With respect to the questi on of space in Woolf’s corpus Anna Snaith and Michael Whitworth note that Woolf’s fictional and nonfictional writing is consistently concerned with the politics of spaces: nati onal spaces, civic spaces private spaces, or the textual spaces of the writer/print er. The psychology of space resonates through her autobiographical writing, from the claustrophobic, Victorian rooms of Hyde Park Gate, heavy wi th tangled emotions, to the airy,


8 liberating rooms of 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury. While private, domestic space, the woman’s room, is at the hub of her feminist politics, it is from this room that she became one of the key writers of urban modernity, particularly in its feminist articulation. (1) Despite the importance of spa tial politics in Woolf’s life a nd writing, its centrality “has not been adequately addresse d”, according to Snaith and Whitworth (2). The scholars who have addressed spatial ity in her writings, though, agree that Woolf sees space as fundamental to a critique of power relations especially those pr edicated on gender. Criticism focusing on space in Three Guineas and The Years furthermore, tends to analyze the relationship between public and pr ivate spaces with an emphasis on Woolf’s interrogation of dichotomized space(s) genera lly. In particular, constructs such as interior/exterior and home/nation undergo clos e inspection. Most scholars affirm that by underscoring the interdependency of these dualisms, Woolf articula tes how the cultural construction of space interfaces with the production of subjectivity. Elizabeth F. Evans, for example, identifies two important spatial themes at play in The Years On the one hand, Woolf portrays in doors/outdoors as simultaneously oppositional and intersecting; on the other, i ndividual understandings of broader social relations are informed by relationships to ma terial urban space (112) For instance, Woolf depicts city space as providing women w ith “a vehicle for thought, contrasting the freedom women experience in the city streets with the constraints of domestic life” (113). This illustrates how, in Evans’s words, “ The Years links the politics of home and nation through its exploration of the interconnections of space, gender, and the social system” (112).


9 Like Evans, Youngjoo Son sees Woolf fo regrounding the entwinement of private and national space. Son argues that she thereby reconceptualizes the metonymic association of the hom e with the nation in The Years According to Son, “the Pargiter family’s move from single family houses to fl ats can be interpreted as a step toward a more inclusive space of home and nation that is tolerant of and even willing to live together with marginalized others” (13). Son’s argument suggests that Woolf’s domestic spaces are relational rather than constructed according to the absolutism that underwrites patriarchal constructions of home and nation. Linden Peach’s work also investigates domestic and public spaces for a clearer understanding of Woolf’ s “concern with the fusion of the material and the psychological” (66). Calling at tention to the importance of “interior rooms” in The Years Peach argues that domestic ro oms function as the interface between self and society, as in the intrusion of “outside” noises into the “inside” space of Maggie Pargiter’s room at Hyam’s Place. Me rry Pawlowski has recently analyzed the interweaving of time and space in The Years in relation to Woolf’s gender politics. Pawlowski argues that Woolf unsettles the conve ntional patriarchal l ogic of time as linear and space as static: “History and individual ex istence . unfold as series of repeating patterns . suggestive of a feminine, cycl ical (time folding back on itself), and circulating (space folding back on itself ) conception of space/time” (76). Turning to Three Guineas we find that one of the earliest studies to focus on space was Julie Robin Solomon’s response to Showalter, “Staking Ground: The Politics of Space in A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas ” (1989) Arguing that Woolf deploys “spatial metaphor to describe wo men’s political needs and powers” (332), Solomon underscores the potential for Woolfian space to challenge capitalist


10 prerogatives. In particular, where in A Room of One’s Own Solomon sees Woolf affirming the possession of private property, Three Guineas by contrast, repudiates the need for a proper “room” (and the naturali zation of privatized space) through the “Society of Outsiders,” a (loosely) organi zed group that “works on the periphery of centralized . patriarchal institutions” (332). Son’s book also discusses the complex re lationship between private and public space in Three Guineas a dynamic he interprets as part of Woolf’s feminist critique of social relations. “While mindful of her ow n implication in the public space produced by the social system,” Son asserts, “Woolf explor es a possibility for crit ical intervention into public space.” Since their historical exclus ion from the public realm potentially offers women a unique position as “outside” the status quo, they can communicate “spatial perspectives that challenge dominant ones” (70-71). In an opaque but interes ting article, “Virginia W oolf’s Veil: The Feminist Intellectual Organization of Public Space,” Merry Pawlowski discusses the intersection of the textual space of Three Guineas with the material and me taphorical spaces depicted therein. According to Pawlowski, Woolf “maps geographical space divided by gender” and arranges “textual space around and in relation to” the photographs included in Three Guineas cogently interweaving “inner inter, and extra visual/t extual spaces” (723). For instance, by describing and not including phot ographs of the Spanis h Civil War, Woolf “veils” these images to extinguish the impulse to war that they elicit while simultaneously “unveiling” images of patria rchs in public space to show that these seemingly innocent snapshots encourage war (726).


11 As the scholarship suggests, Woolf’s effo rts to depict the in terconnection between public and private space was vital to her proj ect of decentering patriarchal values and demonstrating the intersection of the pers onal and the political. While I find no major disagreements among the scholars discussed he re, critics have yet to address certain features of Woolfian space that I interpre t as important to a fuller understanding (though never entirely “full”) of Woolf’s cultural politics. Significantly, Woolf’s problematizing of the city/country binary in The Years has yet to be scrutinized. This oversight reflects a privileging of urban space in the existing lite rature, including criticism that addresses Woolf’s portrayal of the reci procity between the material environment and individual consciousness. In The Years Kitty Malone/Lasswade’s recurring movement from city to country and vice versa, for instance, s uggests that Woolf was concerned with interrogating the city/country divide. Similarl y, Kitty’s relation to the “natural” space of the countryside deserves closer inspection fo r the light it casts on the interaction between space and subjectivity, a concern I explore in both Three Guineas and The Years In addition, the deployment of textual space in Three Guineas has received little attention. An examination of the relationship between th e text and endnotes wi ll begin to address this neglect. In fact, the particul ar organization of textual space in Three Guineas constitutes Woolf’s depicti on of the connection between fascism “abroad”/”elsewhere” and fascism “at home”/ “here” thereby playing a central role in the spatial relationships developed throughout. A close study of the relationship between the spatial politics in Three Guineas and The Years has yet to materialize, interestingly, gi ven that Woolf originally envisioned the two texts as a single, experimental work. The final chapter of my project, therefore, will


12 analyze the relationship between these two te xts in terms of Wool f’s evolving cultural politics during the 1930s. Examin ing the intertextual relati onship between the factual Three Guineas and the fictional The Years reveals that the formal division of the two itself serves to articulat e the politics of both te xtual and social space.


13 Chapter Two: Space and Place in The Years The Years may be Woolf’s most thoroughgoing treatment of the politics of space and place. In a sense this novel was founded on a crisis of mental space. Woolf writes in her diary: “Now again I pay the penalty of mixing fact and fiction: cant [ sic ] concentrate on The Years. I have a sense that one cannot co ntrol this terrible fluctuation between the 2 worlds” ( Diary 4: 350). Woolf refers here to the tw o worlds of fact and fiction that she had originally sought to unite in an experimental novel-essay once entitled The Pargiters As noted in Chapter I, ultimately the novel portion became The Years and the essay segments developed into Three Guineas Reconciling the “terribl e fluctuation between 2 worlds” by composing two distinct texts, Woolf, however, maintains an intimate relationship between The Years and Three Guineas Thematically resonant, both works share a marked attempt to denaturalize di chotomous constructions of public/private, inside/outside, here/there, home/elsewhere. While this intention emerges explicitly in Three Guineas when Woolf asserts that “the public and the private worlds are inseparably connected,” the imbrication of dichotom ized spaces is registered throughout The Years too, as we shall see. Indicating the work’s deep concern with space and place, some other titles Woolf considered for The Years were “Here and Now” and “Other People’s Houses.” This chapter examines the politics of space and plac e in Woolf’s fictional portrait of fifty years of English history. Focusing on the spatial experience of Eleanor Pargiter and Kitty Malone (later, Lady Lasswade)—two characte rs portrayed throughout the novel as almost always in motion through space—it attempts to illumi nate Woolf’s critique of gendered


14 and nationalized spaces and places. Ind eed, politically charged spaces and places abound in The Years The novel explores spatial and temporal change in the family and in the English nation through portrayals of sh ifting social dynamics between 1880 and (roughly) the onset of the Second World War, focusing on the Pargiter family members’ relationship to these transfor mations. Two branches of the Pargiter family are depicted. When the novel opens in the 1880 chapter, Col onel Abel Pargiter, his wife Rose (whose death concludes the first chapter), and thei r seven children (Eleanor, Edward, Morris, Milly, Delia, Martin, and Rose) all live at Abercorn Terrace in a respectable London neighborhood. Abel’s brother Sir Digby Parg iter, Digby’s wife Eugnie, and their daughters Maggie and Sara reside at Browne Street in the mo re affluent and fashionable Westminster. A third branch of the family, but on the maternal side, resides in Oxford: Dr. and Mrs. Malone and their daughter Kitty, Mrs. Malone being Rose Pargiter’s elder sister. In this chapter, I argue that The Years shows how space and place can function as a means of social control th rough processes that naturalize stasis and fixed boundaries as their defining features. These processes an chor an understanding of public and private realms as mutually exclusive and, to bo rrow Son’s words, “work to maintain the patriarchal, class-stratified social orde r by promoting a homogenized vision of the home as free of domination, conf licts, and resistance” (12). But Woolf also suggests that space and place can be de-formed and re-formed so as to promote the affirmation of difference and diversity. By depicting space as something produced, The Years unglues hegemonic constructions of space and place. Changes in the experience of space and place by individual characters align w ith changes in the relationshi p between self and society,


15 domesticity and otherness, here and there. Such perceptual transformations ultimately suggest rearticulations of the nation and nationa l identity. Rather than being self-derived, bounded and unrelational, the nation appears as an ideological effect obscuring its own dependence as home and “here-ness” on “the re-ness” and otherness. In addition, dominant notions of family and its place w ithin the nation are undermined as characters begin to experience the porosity of space and place. I. “Things pass, things change”: Eleanor Pargiter, Leaving Home The novel opens with a scene at Abercorn Terrace which shows the Pargiter daughters’ daily routine typified by the monot ony of staring at the teakettle, waiting for it to reach a boil (9). Denied access to public space, their relegation to domestic space also implies that women’s proper place is in th e home, fulfilling a duty to making that home comfortable for the Pargiter men. This ear ly scene also shows men’s access to public space as three figures, Colonel Abel and his sons Martin and Morri s, are shown entering the home. Implying not only men’s access to public space but also women’s debarment from a formal education, the narrative indica tes that Edward Pargit er is attending school at Oxford and Morris is working in the Law Courts. By juxtaposing images of men’s movement from public to private space with women’s enclosure within private space, Woolf’s narrative immediately foregrounds the gender politics of place. Additionally, women’s domestic captivity and exclusion fr om educational institutions, as Woolf demonstrates in Three Guineas served to increase the funds available to educate the men. “Where there are many sons to educate,” Woolf explains, it required a great effort on the part of the family. . And to this [the] sisters . made their cont ribution. Not only did their own education .


16 go into it; but many of those luxuries and trimmings which are, after all, an essential part of education—travel, society, solitude, a lodging apart from the family house—they were paid into it too. (7) By demonstrating the way in which women’s confinement to domestic space serves to bolster the patriarchal system, Woolf fore grounds how the middle-class home functions as a site wherein economic relations take place. The importance of place in shaping and su staining patriarchal gender relations becomes even clearer when the eldest daught er Eleanor writes a letter to Edward (at school in Oxford), reminding him to contac t their dying mother. Interestingly, her brother Morris, who both opens and closes th e house door, takes the letter outside to the pillar-box, not Eleanor. “Eleanor went to th e front door with him,” instead, “and stood holding it open” (42). Images of women standing inside doorways—and thus on the threshold between the private and public sphe res—run throughout the novel, but here the image of Eleanor as gatekeeper of the privat e sphere compellingly draws attention to the fixity of place and identity at the Abercorn Terrace home. This partic ular identity of place and the social relations with which it re sounds, in turn, construct a domestic(ated) identity for the women of the family. For P each, this correlates with Woolf’s recurring attempts throughout her fiction to demonstrate “the way in which the material parameters of people’s lives and their individual psyc hologies are peculiarly concentrated and interleaved in the spaces in which they live” (68). The Pargiter home at Abercorn Te rrace reproduces a notion of “home” as characterized by, in Doreen Massey’s words, “stability and a reassuring boundedness” (169). Woolf’s narrator, for example, descri bes the home as a place where “[t]he world


17 outside seemed thickly and entirely cut off” (19). Photographs like “Uncle Horace in his uniform” decorate the walls of the Pargiter home (21). Through such elements of decor, a patriotic and upper-middle class perspective secretes itself in and through domestic space. Further, when the youngest daughter Rose sneak s out of the home in the evening to buy toys at a nearby retailer, she is confronted by a male exhibiti onist, but escapes. When she returns home, visions of the ma n terrorize Rose as she tries to fall asleep. After hearing Rose’s trauma-induced cries, Eleanor rushes to her room and tries to comfort her younger sister, who does not disclose the incident to Eleanor. Rose instead st ates that she thought a burglar was in her room. Trying to calm her by treating Rose’s fear of a robber entering the home as misguided, Eleanor asks, ‘A robber? Here ? . how could a robber get into your nursery? There’s Papa, th ere’s Morris—they would neve r let a robber come into your room’ (39; emphasis added). Eleanor’s response speaks to the construction of the middle-class Victorian home as marked by secure boundaries, parameters guarded by the men of the home. Nonetheless, Woolf’s narrativ e subtly contrasts this notion of a secure identity of place with the actual vulnerability of the home when the Pargiter Nurse is unable to find the latchkey: “Every night it was hidden in a new place for fear of burglars” (25). Although the Pargiter daughters are largely immobilized by the pol itics of place, Eleanor does have “her Grove day,” a weekly detour from the responsibilities of the house to visit the poor at Canning Place. Th is charitable activity was common among Victorian upper-middle class women such as Woolf’s mother Julia Stephen and halfsister Stella Duckworth (McNees 419n), indicating an extensi on of their traditional role as nurturers. While this practice speaks to the limited possibilities for women’s mobility


18 in and through spaces outside the home, the impact of her experience compels Eleanor to consider the relationship between the here of her home and the there of the Grove. Woolf’s narrator tells us, “w hen she came back from the Grove – so many different things were going on in her head at the same time: Canning Place; Abercorn Terrace; this room; that room” (29 Eleanor’s attempt to draw interconnections between the home of the impoverished class and her own middle-cl ass home demonstrates the way in which any understanding of one place is contingent upon knowledge of other places. Moreover, the way in which these places are sequenced (or “spaced”) in Eleanor’s thoughts suggests the relational character of place in that “Abercorn Terrace” and “this room” are bookended by “Canning Place” and “that room” in Eleanor’s thought pattern. Eleanor’s movement from Abercorn Terrace to Canning Place compels Eleanor to think about her own home in relation to places conventionally deemed “lower ” in the class structure. Eleanor’s contact with p oor people also facilitate s an understanding of their humanity, marking a shift in her consciousne ss that is inflected by her movement from Abercorn Terrace to Canning Place/The Grove For instance, after visiting the Grove, “Eleanor did not like talking about the ‘poor’ as if they were people in a book” as her relatives do, the narrator notes. Moreover, while she reflects back on her day, Eleanor thinks of her “great admiration for Mrs. Le vy, who [is] dying of cancer” (29). While this form middle-class philanthropy may be seen as patronizing, Woolf sugg ests that it is not totally devoid of value. Identifying with Ms. Levy, a Jew, Eleanor realizes that Mrs. Levy’s condition resembles that of her ow n bedridden mother, Rose Pargiter. By illustrating the knowledge women can obtain fr om “leaving home,” Woolf denaturalizes private space as woman’s proper place. Eleanor ’s realization that the lives of both the


19 poor and the middle-class overlap with sim ilarities uncovers the constructedness of hierarchy and patriarchal values. We can begi n to feel what is at stake in barricading middle-class women within domestic space. For example, Eleanor’s philanthropy does not please Colonel Pargiter; when he asks of Eleanor’s whereabouts at teatime and learns that it is her Grove day, he be gins to “[stir] the sugar round and round in his cup as if to demolish it” (13). Why should Eleanor’s moveme nt out of the home give rise to such a (comical) display of anger? Perhaps we can be tter understand this if we consider how the Pargiter daughters, with th e exception of Eleanor, “never see anyone outside their own set . . cooped up [in the home], da y after day” (30). Through Eleanor, The Years demonstrates how those “outside” the middleclass set are both di fferent and like those “inside” it. But Woolf also shows the power of place to curtail Eleanor’s critical thought because her place in the Victor ian social system predetermines a particular duty to the home. The narrator notes that, after realizi ng the parallels between her home and Mrs. Levy’s, “she [Eleanor] checked herself,” turnin g her attention to attend to the family (29). In “checking” herself, moreover, Eleanor’s self-silencing resounds with a prevalent theme in Three Guineas – that financial dependence on men forces women to suppress ideas that conflict with those of men. Underscoring an impor tant facet of the financial independence that accompanies women’s entran ce into the professions, Woolf asserts that now [a woman] need no longer use her char m to procure money from her father or brother. Since it is beyond the power of her family to punish her financially she can express her own opinions. In place of the admirations and antipathies which were often unc onsciously dictated by the need of


20 money she can declare her genuine likes and dislikes. In short, she need not acquiesce; she can criticize. (21) Access to the professions and thus public space enhances women’s critical thoughts and facilitates their articulation. In Three Guineas however, Woolf was writing at a time when women could legally partake in professi onal life; in 1880 th is opportunity was not available to Eleanor. Eleven years elapse between the first and second chapters of The Years and when Eleanor reappears in the second chapter, 1891, she has greater mobility through public space. In one day we see her going to a multitude of places dispersed throughout the space of London—attending a committee meeting concerned with aiding the poor, visiting an impoverished section of the city to set in motion repairs for apartments in housing projects, buying a gift for her cousi n, attending a luncheon at Abercorn Terrace, and sitting in on a trial her brother is litigat ing at the Law Courts. All of these movements from place to place are aided by the technol ogical innovations of the omnibus and the hansom cab. These technological developmen ts, in fact, alter spatial relationships because they greatly accelerat e the pace at which human movement in and through space can occur. The politics of space and place perhaps b ecome most salient in the Law Court scene of this chapter. When Eleanor first ca tches sight of the Judge she “[feels] a little thrill of awe run through her” (103). The impression made by the Judge on Eleanor resounds with the elevated status of the men involved in managing England’s foundational institutions such as law. However, with the shift in the politics of place that enables women’s movement out of the private sphere, th e grandeur conventionally


21 associated with judges is deflated. In fact after “the first glamour had worn off,” the Judge seems “no longer immune from human w eakness” (105). The constructed nature of these figures is underscored, too, as Eleanor thinks, “they [the ba rristers and judge] all looked like pictures. . cut out, like eighteenth-century por traits hung upon a wall” (103). Eleanor’s perspectival change corresponds with her enlarged a ccess to places beyond Abercorn Terrace. For Eleanor, witnessing firsthand the ordina ry workings of the ruling class deflates the superiority of the E nglish patriarchs. Woolf foregrounds this understanding of the constructedness of Englis h values in terms of space and place. When Eleanor exits the Law Courts and roams the Strand, she feels “herself expand. . It was as if something had broken loose – in her, in the world” (105). Here, the once solid identity of her world, epitomized in th e image of Abercorn Terrace, comes undone, signaling a change in Eleanor’s subjectivity. As Evans affirms, moreover, “[t]he ability of an individual’s spatial sense of the city to repr esent her sense of the la rger social structure indicates that interiority and external material space are in tertwined” (114). Through Eleanor the1891 chapter shows us that access to public space by “the daughters of educated men” may facilitate an understanding of the fabricated nature of hierarchy. But in 1891 Eleanor’s sense of dut y to her father and the home persists, suggested by the hectic pace of her movements as she tries to fulfill her responsibility to overseeing repairs to the homes of the poor while making it back to Abercorn Terrace in time for lunch with her father. However, tw enty years later in the 1911 section Colonel Pargiter has died, the Abercorn Terrace home is up for sale, and Eleanor has taken to traveling, having already visited Spain, Italy, and Greece. As she goes to stay with her brother Morris in the North of England, Eleanor thinks of England as “small” and


22 “pretty” yet she “[feels] no affection for her native land—none whatever” (188). This diminished love for her nation suggests that an understanding of place as relational may shatter the absolutism that characterizes dom inant constructions of the nation. Moreover, she ponders whether or not she should purchas e a home; she decides against it, and she then imagines “a ship padding softly through the waves; of a train swinging from side to side down a railway line” (202). By juxta posing Eleanor’s refusal to purchase a home with images of fluid movement, the text suggests the potential for women’s spatial mobility to challenge the naturalization of a woman’s place as in the home. As the chapter closes, moreover, Elean or understands that “[t]hings pass, things change”—such as middle-class women’s role as devoted homemaker (202). II. “All passes, all changes”: Kitty Ma lone/Lady Lasswade a nd the City/Country Woolf further develops the politics of space and place through the character Kitty Malone, cousin to the Pargiters, and her experiences through and in Oxford and the countryside of North England. Our first view of Kitty, in the 1880 chapter, is in the Lodge at Oxford, the place where Kitty lives that also serves as temporary accommodations for guests being entertaine d by Dr. and Mrs. Malone. Because Dr. Malone is a don residing at th e Lodge, he and his family are responsible for entertaining “distinguished” guests and undergraduates. I mmediately, Woolf depi cts the Lodge as a place, like Abercorn Terrace and the Law Cour ts, marked by spatial arrangements that articulate broader social rela tions that are hierarchically organized. For instance, when a dinner party at the Lodge ends, one of the departing guests, Mrs. Larpent, asks if the type of bird she hears singing outsi de is a nightingale. In response, “old Chuffy,” the prominent Dr. Andrews, finding great humor in such an apparently ridiculous question,


23 “correctly” identifies the bird as a thrush. But Old Chuffy’s position as epistemic authority is not the only indicator of the so cial relations that shape the identity of the Lodge. In the same scene Woolf’s narrator observes that “with a wave of the hand directed by centuries of trad ition, Mrs. Larpent drew back her foot, as if she had encroached upon one of the chalk marks which decorate academic lintels and, signifying that Mrs. Lathom, wife of the Divinity professor, should pre cede her, they passed out into the rain” (53-4). Here we sense that the rela tionships in the Lodge reverberate with the “centuries of tradition” that divide social groups into superior and inferior. The tradition implicated in the wave of a hand provokes Mrs. Larpent’s retreat from a spatial transgression, one that resembles the spatia l code of Oxbridge portrayed by Woolf in A Room of One’s Own where her narrator-lecturer trespass es on the grass plot of the men’s college and is chased away by a Beadle (6). Here, gender and class differences overlap with the centuries-old tradition that assume s a spatial form—in the procession leading out of the Lodge, Mrs. Larpent is literally placed behind her social “superiors.” The politics of place become clearer as we learn that the Lodge features rooms reserved for “distinguished guests” and that gold-framed portraits of former schoolmasters of the college gaze ominously from the walls. This image of The Lodge articulates the patriarchal soci al relations that govern Vi ctorian England. The Lodge is also a site where the normalization of wo men’s “proper place” is perpetuated. When Kitty spills ink on her father’s “history of the college,” for instance, Dr. Malone remarks, ‘Nature did not intend you to be a scholar, my dear’ (76). Importantly, the Lodge is not only a house but also, for Kitty and her mother a kind of workplace. For instance, after some guests have left and others have gone to bed, Kitty contemplates the day’s events


24 and the narrator informs us that for her, “It had been Thursday at its worst . sights in the morning; people for lunch; undergraduates fo r tea; and a dinner-par ty in the evening” (57). Although Kitty has access to public space, th is privilege is inextr icably tied up with her (unpaid) domestic duty, a fact that unders cores the interrelationa l character of public and private spaces. But the Lodge’s arrangem ent seeks to veil this relationship by maintaining a sense of enclosure—“they al ways shut the windows and [draw] the curtains,” making the place “very stuffy,” the narrator observes (57). Like Eleanor, Kitty has a limited opportunity to escape the confines of the middleclass home. She too visits places conventionally identified as “lower class,” such as the home—“haloed with romance” in Kitty’s view—of her teacher Lucy Craddock (60). Kitty’s obligation to the Lodge, however, interf eres with her educat ion. When she attends her private lesson with Miss Craddock, with whom she shares a mutual admiration, Kitty’s failure to have completed her assignm ent because of her responsibilities at the Lodge causes Lucy to admonish her. The ge nder politics of education are such that Kitty’s first duty is to make the Lodge a place of leisure and entertainment for distinguished visitors and (mal e) students, whose studies ta ke priority over her own. In contrast to the patriarc hal identity of the Lodge, Lucy’s place is marked by openness to flows of movement. For example, in an effort to mitigate her harsh words to Kitty, Lucy directs Kitty’s attention to “a bowl of flowers on the table; wild flowers, blue and white, stuck into a cushion of wet gree n moss” sent from the Scarborough moors of North England (61). Importantl y, this image intimates the porosity of place, while the moss and flowers motif suggests that root edness—a conventional attribute of place— concomitantly implies mobility, perhaps. In a sense, Woolf suggests that the notion of


25 place as rooted is not inherently restrictive, but that this idea must be complemented by an understanding of place as open to change and movement. Lucy’s place, then, takes on a relational feature unlike the fixed, self-der ived identity of the Lodge. This image suggests that places are not essentially enclosed or located. Furthermore, Woolf complicates the division between city and country, here and there, and this proves significant in Lucy’s understa nding of the constructedness of notions of private property (as I discuss further below). After leaving Lucy Craddock’s place, Kitty travels to her friend Nelly Robson’s home for tea. This family is “lower” in soci al rank than the Malones, as indicated by the material condition of the Robson home. Immediat ely after Kitty enters, “[s]he seemed to see the whole room at once. The table was too large; there were hard green-plush chairs; yet the table-cloth was coarse; darned in th e middle; and the china was cheap with its florid roses”(64). But the Robson home is de picted as a space of motion and openness antithetical to the patriarchal structure of the Lodge. Mr. Robson, an Oxford don who resembles the historical figure Joseph Wri ght (Hussey 381), the compiler of a well known dialect dictionary, encourages Nelly’s education and is particularly fond of Lucy Craddock, despite the fact that “so many of th e Dons sneered at her [Lucy]” (65). Instead of relegating domestic work to the women of the home, the entire family shares in this activity. As Kitty prepares to depart, she noti ces that “[t]hey were all about to go on with what they were doing. . Nell was about to go into the kitchen and wash up the tea things; [Nell’s brother] Jo was about to return to his hencoops; the children were about to be put to bed” (69). Contras ting the portraits of patriarchs that adorn the walls of the Lodge, the focalizing pictures hanging in th e Robsons’ home depict Mr. Robson’s mother


26 and the Yorkshire moors. This feature of th e Robsons’ decor hints at a more feminine, alternative heritage and a fluid identity of place that can be defined in relation to a “different” place. The represented presence of the moors also links the Robsons’ and Lucy Craddock’s homes. After she visits Lucy’s and the Robsons’, Kitty imagines a more liberating life “[i]f she had been the daughter of people like the Robsons” (69). Appreciating the values and places of people designated “lower-in-class” gives Kitty a new fr ame of reference for understanding her own world. On her way back to the Lodge, Kitty is overcome by a sense of displacement, “tossed aloft out of her usual surroundings. She forgot where she was” (69). Recovering her bearings once back in the familiar Oxford street of her home, Kitty sees it differently. The narrator notes that “the street she had always known” is transformed into a comic spectacle: There were the cabs and the awnings and the book-shops; the old men in black gowns billowing; the young women in pink and blue dresses flowing; and the young men in straw hats carrying cushions under their arms. But for a moment all seemed to her obsolete, frivolous, inane The usual undergraduate with books unde r his arm looked silly. And the portentous old men, with their exaggera ted features, looked like gargoyles, carved, medieval, unreal. They were all like people dr essed up and acting parts (70). The former solidity of the place dissolves in relation to Kitty’s experience with different classes and different perspectives. Here the values and practices of the upper middle class appear arbitrary to Kitty, rather than inhere ntly superior. Not only does her view of public


27 space in Oxford change, but Kitty’s attenti on to maintaining the household begins to falter—so much so, that later in the night after Kitty returns to the Lodge, her mother asks, “‘Why don’t you take more interest in th ings here?’” (76). Kitty’s experience at and in the places of Lucy, an independent working woman, and the Robsons, a family that shares domestic responsibilities and encourag es women’s education, intersects with her diminished interest in fulfilling a stereot ypical feminine identity, one that assumes pleasure and satisfaction in sati sfying domestic obligations. Despite this aversion to a purely domesti c life, Kitty ultimat ely marries a Lord, becomes Lady Lasswade, and has three sons. Thirty-four years after the episode with Lucy Craddock and the Robsons, in the 1914 sec tion, Kitty is hosting a party at her city home at Grovesnor Square in London. A lthough the novel never indicates a specific reason why Kitty hosts the event, her disdain for the conventions of such parties—which she associates with the city—is evident in her haste to get back to her estate located in the countryside of the North. Moreover, Kitty’s ob ligation to entertain the guests recalls her weekly duties as a young woman at the Lodge. Given her experience of the porosity of place and the changes in consciousness elicited by this experience, Kitty paradoxically perceives her country estate in the North as having a secure, permanent identity. Kitty’s perspective, in fact corresponds with the long-standing tradition of identifying the Bri tish countryside as the “real” England as opposed to the corrupt urban industrial areas. In The Country and The City (1973), Raymond Williams challenges this myth that the countryside was a rural democracy before the encroachment of industrial capit alism and the eighteen th century Enclosure


28 Acts. He instead argues that rural society was also hierarchical (519) and that Enclosure had been happening since at least the thirteenth century, and had reached a first peak in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Indeed in history it is continuous from the long process of conquest and seizure: the land gained by killing, by repression, by political bargains. (Williams 514) Interestingly, the notion of a rural utopia a nnihilated by industrial capitalism was long maintained even in the face of a rigid social order. Williams suggests that the “ancient or ancient-seeming titles and houses [of the la ndowning elites] offered the illusion of a society determined by obligations and traditiona l relations between social orders” (508). Social hierarchy was naturalized in part by the way in which aristocratic homes are conceptualized as “ancient,” thereby becomi ng “a visible display of power, of displayed wealth and command” (521). Whether the homes are “ancient” or “ancient-seeming,” the associative link between ancient and power informs the perceived fixed social order and identity of the countryside. The static identity of the countryside described above influences Kitty’s interpretation of her estate in the North. Arriving at her estate, Kitty feels “warm, stored, and comfortable” because she was “on [her] own land now” (261) and observes that her home “looked . ancient, and enduring” (262). Here Kitty’s viewpoint is consonant with the mythologized version of Britain’s count ryside. Woolf’s narrator shows us, however, that Kitty’s estate is materially produced to simulate an air of permanence: “Gateposts were branded with their initia ls; their [coat-of] arms swung above the doorways of inns, their crest was mounted over cottage doors” (260). These symbols are what constitute the


29 sense of stability that Kitty feels, rather th an any inherent identity of place. Even the “natural” space surrounding her home is produced by human intervention, to say nothing of the plural possessives that indicate ownership of space: “Every path through the woods had its name. There was Keepers’ Path, L overs’ Walk, Ladies’ Mile, and . Earl’s Ride” (262). While the narrator’s descript ion of the estate undercuts Kitty’s perspective on the identity of her place, Kitty begins to understand the constructedness of this fixity. Interestingly, as she walks through the w oods, Kitty notices “blue flowers and white flowers, trembling on cushions of green moss (263). The flowers and moss exactly resemble those in Lucy Craddock’s place in the 1880 chapter. As at Lucy’s many years earlier, the flowers and moss di sclose to Kitty that places are open to change. Shortly after this moment, Kitty experiences something of an epiphany: All passes, all changes, she thought, as she climbed up the little path between the trees. Nothing of this pl ace belonged to her; her son would inherit; his wife would walk here after her. . But she was in the prime of life; she was vigorous. She strode on. The ground rose sharply; her muscles felt strong and flexible as she pressed her thick-so led shoes to the ground. (263) The class privilege that accompanies being a Lasswade is shown here to be mediated by gender, as ownership of the estate is dict ated by patrilineal inheritance. Rather than causing fear or anger at the fact that esse ntially Kitty owns none of this place, this understanding of the multiform character of pl ace and its interconnec tion with the laws that determine that sons inherit the home i nvigorates Kitty. Not only does this realization


30 hinge on an understanding of the changing natu re of place, it leads Kitty to interpret space in contrast to the dominant notion of space as private property. Kitty imagines the landscape as [u]ncultivated, uninhabited, existing by itself, for itself, without towns or houses. . Dark wedges of shadow, br ight breadths of light lay side by side. . light moved and dark move d; light and shadow went traveling over the hills and over the valleys. A deep murmur sang in her ears—the land itself was singing to itself, a chorus, alone. She lay there listening. She was happy, completely. (263) By understanding the fluxional properties of space and place, thei r openness to change, and the possibility of cont radictory phenomena occupying th e same space—as with dark and light — Kitty displaces her value of a sense of private property. Moreover, Kitty perceives space as having something like its own autonomy, an existence outside the realm of human needs and interests. It shoul d be noted, too, since cr itics like Evans and Son emphasize the significance of the relationship between urban space and psychological changes, that Kitty’s subjectiv e transformation happens in the country and not the city. This suggests that Woolf envi sioned the significance of spatial dynamics beyond her own immediate urban context. III. “We’re only just beginning . to understand, here and there”: The Interface of Familial, National and Imperial Spaces In the novel’s final chapter, “Present Da y,” the surviving members of the Pargiter family reunite. They attend a party given by De lia at a place indicativ e of changes in the use of domestic and public spaces over time. Delia rearranges an office on the ground


31 floor of her building “so that it could be used as a cloa k-room” (326). Moreover, the heterogeneity of the party-goers contrasts wi th the segregation of classes via space and place seen in earlier chapters. The narrato r informs us, “[t]here were nobles and commoners; people dressed and people not dr essed; people drinking out of mugs, and people waiting with their soup getting cold fo r a spoon to be brought to them” (378). This amalgam of difference implies a movement toward more inclusive uses of space and place. Both Eleanor and Kitty make it to the pa rty, and as they converse with various family members they recall the past and discu ss the present and the future. We learn that Kitty now lives alone in ‘a nice little house’ in the north. Although the conditions under which Kitty moved away from the estate are not mentioned, the decision to take up more modest accommodations suggests that she has re negotiated her values, especially if we recall the feeling of elation sh e previously felt when returning to the Lasswade estate in the country in the “1914” chapter. Kitty’ s reaction upon seeing her cousin Edward, moreover, suggests that place and identity are intimately connected. When she hears Edward (who is an Oxford don like her fath er) speaking, Kitty immediately recalls why she didn’t marry him. Importan tly, she associates Edward w ith the Lodge (397), and this reminds Kitty why she chose to deny Edward’s marriage proposal. Because marrying a man like Edward would “place” Kitty in the same circumstances under which she had grown up—dutiful to the home—th is image of the Lodge in association with Edward foregrounds the importance of an unders tanding of place as active in shap ing identity. While Kitty has chosen a home in the north, Eleanor has taken a flat in London but continues to travel. Her experience in a nd through places other th an her “native land”


32 of England gives her a new perspective on hum an relations: the social world of England is only one place out of many. And yet, be ing located in England also means the possibility of being in anothe r world, “[n]ot in dreams; but here and now, in this room, with living people,” Eleanor ponders and the narrator notes that “[s]he felt as if she were standing on the edge of a pr ecipice” (404). Here, the precipice image coupled with Eleanor’s ideas on the possibility of other worl ds in the here and now calls attention to the way in which inside and outsi de, here and else where co-exist. The shifting understandings and uses of place exemplified by the amalgam of domestic and social space at Delia’s home and both Eleanor and Kitty’s refusal to reproduce Victorian domestic conventions underscores a more inclusive home and nation. Woolf, however, is careful not to idealize present-day England. For instance, when North Pargiter, Morris’s son who fought in World War I and is now returning to England after living on a farm in Africa for some time, is confronted by Milly and Hugh Gibbs over whether North will stay or return to Africa. As they discuss North’s feelings over what he perceives as the vast change s England has undergone during his time away, Hugh remarks, ‘but you won’t find many changes in our part of the world’ in the northern countryside of England (357). Not only do Hugh a nd Milly take pride in the fixity of their place, they oppose new developments as Milly ex presses disgust with th e fact that “little red villas” are being built (357). The little red villas, like the home of Lucy Craddock, signify the encroachment of an inferior clas s onto the space of the aristocratic Milly and Hugh. Moreover, North’s discussion with H ugh about Africa foregrounds the relationship between home and abroad and how the nation and family interface spatially. Hugh tells North, ‘I hope you’re going to stay in Engla nd now . though I dare say it’s a fine life


33 out there [in Africa]’ (357). The men then go on to discuss “Africa and the paucity of jobs” in England, the narrator remarks. Here the coupling of “Afri ca and the paucity of jobs” in England underscores how “out there” serves to alleviate employment woes at home, undercutting imperialist notions of colonized sp ace as merely the elsewhere for the staging of colonial exploits. In fact, the nation depends on “her” colonies, is interdependent with them. The Years shows us that although space and place can be shaped to maintain dominant cultural values, the po ssibilities for more inclusive social relations can emerge from an understanding of the potential multif ormity of space and place. Through Woolf’s portrayals of Eleanor and Kitty, the space that separates here and there also betrays a certain interdependency. Eleanor’s refusal to marry and make a hom e and thus replicate the oppressive relations seen at Abercorn Terrace hinges on her increased mobility through space and place. Kitty’s movements from city to country and back demonstrate the porosity of place and its openness to cha nge. Kitty’s insight in to the dynamism of place informs her understanding of the gendere d character of private property, thereby undermining the construction of the English countryside as timeless and fixed. Cultural constructions of here and there, furthe rmore, underpin the family-nation-empire relationship. Woolf, however, does not simply celebrate the transformative potential of space and place. After all, the “Present Day” ch apter is set in a time when Europe is on the verge of yet another war. The “Present Day” section also reminds us that although more inclusive spaces are being produced, the space of London is also used to propagate fascism, as North witnesses symbols of the British Union of Fascists inscribed on “[d]oor after door,


34 window after window” as he drives along a London neighborhood (294). This resonates with the themes Woolf takes up in Three Guineas namely, that fascism exists not only abroad but simultaneously in the heart of England.


35 Chapter Three: Textual Space and Geopolitics in Three Guineas At a time when the rhetoric of “fighti ng the good fight” against Fascism abroad was galvanizing English national pride, Woolf issued an unsettling account of the fascism infesting English culture. Her feminist-pacifist polemic Three Guineas foregrounds how the English patriarchy encourages war, pursu ing this theme in an attempt to understand how war might be prevented. In fact, Three Guineas opens with Woolf responding to a letter sent from an English male barrister posing the question, ‘how are we [English men and women] to prevent war?’ (5). Woolf—representing and sp eaking on behalf of “the daughters of educated men”—takes the opportunity to write an essay-ep istle that tries to answer the barrister’s qu estion by unearthing the fasc istic roots of foundational institutions of English society such as the pa triarchal family, the syst em of education, and the professions, especially includi ng the military and the church. Although historically men had dominated these institutions (and still do), the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 form ally gave women the right to enter the professions, to escape the c onfines of the private house, and to achieve economic independence. Woolf cautions, however, that wi th this advance women are now in danger of reproducing the masculinist values that sh e identifies as the s timuli to war. Woolf communicates this dilemma in her respons e to a correspondent seeking funds for a woman’s college:


36 [W]e, daughters of educated men, are be tween the devil and the deep sea. Behind us lies the patria rchal system; the private house, with its nullity, its immorality, its hypocrisy, its servility. Before us lies the public world, the professional system, with its possessiveness, its jealousy, its pugnacity, its greed. The one shuts us up like slaves in a harem; the other forces us to circle, like caterpillars head to ta il, round and round the mulberry tree, the sacred tree, of property. (90) In light of such degrading circumstances Woolf communicates a grave concern with women’s role in perpetuating war by particip ating in the public sphere and urges women to cultivate counter-practices opposing hier archical patriarchal values. Additionally, Three Guineas delineates the relationshi p between patriarchy, capitalism, fascism, and war, founded on a pointed critique and destabilization of th e gendered division of private/domestic and public/political realms. As Woolf (in)famously declared, “the public and the private worlds are inse parably connected . the tyra nnies and servilities of the one are the tyrannies and serv ilities of the other” (168). Organized into three chapters and th ree corresponding sec tions of endnotes, Three Guineas not only experiments with essay and episto lary forms, but also exploits the value of source materials deemed illegitimate or secondary according to prevailing scholarly convention. In particular, Three Guineas employs “history in the raw”: autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, and newspapers. Inters persed with this innovative deployment of source materials and textual space, Woolf in cludes five photographs of various English patriarchs elaborately dressed as they partak e in public ceremonies. Strategically placed, these images serve as visual counterparts to Woolf’s argument that in order to prevent


37 war, English society must discourage the pa geantry of public patriarchal ceremonies that validate the roles that figure centrally in war-making processes. The photographs presented in the text, moreover, are implicitly related to photographs sent from the battlefield of th e Spanish Civil War that Woolf verbally describes throughout the text, bu t strategically does not di splay. Refusing to reproduce these images of “dead bodies and ruined hous es” (116) caused by the fascist bombings of civilians in Spain is one of W oolf’s tactics for preventing war, as images of this nature inevitably evoke violent responses, she explai ns. This concern with the events of the Spanish Civil War situates Woolf’s essay in the debates of the thirties as “part of the discourse . among the European Left inspir ed by the dilemma of how to respond to the Spanish Civil War,” Jane Marcus writes ( xliv ). But Woolf would remain as one of the few who adhered to pacifism. “During the Spanish Civil War,” Hermione Lee notes, “only a minority . remained pacifists” ( 677). Woolf’s nephew Julian Bell, for example, had worked on a collection of pacifist tract s before deciding to drive an ambulance in Spain in support of the Republicans, wh ere he was killed in 1937 (Lee 677). Given Woolf’s sense of the war’s immedi acy caused by the death of her nephew, it is perhaps easier to under stand her preoccupation with demonstrating how home and abroad are interrelated. Woolf had long been concerned with dismantling the Victorian bourgeois ideology of separate spheres, whic h held that women reign supreme in the domestic realm while their husbands cont rol public space, er ecting a supposedly impregnable divide between the two. In Three Guineas Woolf further complicates the relationship between here and there, pr ivate and public, home and abroad, and her emphasis on geopolitical c onnections is central.


38 The feminist critic Susan Stanford Frie dman has defined “the geopolitical” as a spatial axis, on par with the axes of gender, race, class, and sexuali ty, informing identities and social practices (109). “[T]hinking geopol itically,” Friedman explains, “means asking how a spatial entity—local, regional, nati onal, transnational—inflects individual, collective, and cultural identities” (109-110). Friedman offers a sense of the ways that perspective and knowledge are situated with in a geographical framework consisting of various spatial scales from the local to the global. Using her defin ition, in this chapter I argue that Woolf delineates geopolitical relatio ns between home (on both a familial and a national level) and abroad in order to show that the threat of fascism exists not only elsewhere but also here in England. This is accomplished not only through the parallels drawn between English patriarchal practi ces and fascist ideology, but also through Woolf’s organization of the textual space of Three Guineas One important example of the relations hip between public and private spheres occurs in Woolf’s references to photogra phs documenting the dest ruction caused by the Spanish Civil War. Not only do these images s how the dead bodies of people, they also show “ruined houses” destroyed by bombs (14) Since decisions to wage war are made (by men) in the political/public arena, the ba ttlefield takes on a “public” dimension. In a way, these shadow photographs show the “publ ic” space of the battlefield intruding on domestic space in the most violent way possible. While the photographs from the Spanish Civil War exemplify the most brutal conditions under which private and public sp ace intersect, the rhetoric of English patriotism also betrays the meshing of private/public and domestic/national space. Quoting Lord Hewart, the Chief Justice of E ngland, Woolf shows how the constitution of


39 the nation as a domestic space serves to arouse patriotic sentiment and justify war as a natural solution to threats abroad and at home: Englishmen are proud of England. For those who have been trained in English schools and universities, an d who have done the work of their lives in England, there are few loves stronger than the love we have for our country. When we consider other na tions, when we judge the merits of the policy of this country or that, it is the standard of our own country that we apply. . Liberty has made her abode in England. England is the home of democratic institutions. . It is true that in our midst there are many enemies of liberty—some of them perhaps, in rather unexpected quarters. But we are standing firm. It has been said that an Englishman’s home is his Castle. The home of Libe rty is in England. And it is a castle indeed—a castle that will be defended to the last. . (12; ellipses in original) Here the invocation of home identifies the domestic and the national. Although Victorian separate sphere ideology had informed cultu ral constructions of home and nation, this rhetoric shows that private and public realms acquire meaning in relation to each other. Moreover, the image of home and nation advanced here is that of a place “where there is imagined to be the security of a . stability and an appa rently reassu ring boundedness” (Massey 169; emphasis added). Constructe d in this way, the English home and the English nation are sites of abso lute freedom that must be protected, at any cost, from “outside” threats. The trope of the nation as home becomes a vehicle for provoking war. But the rhetoric itself is self-undermining. How can England be “the home of Liberty”


40 when danger stalks even those “rather une xpected quarters,” perhaps a reference to threats inside the boundaries of the nation? Further, Three Guineas suggests that, from the perspective of the daughter s of educated men, the patria rchs themselves threaten liberty by restricting women to domestic space. In The Years the Pargiter daughters’ portrayal as practically confined to the home represents this form of severely truncated freedom in England, the s upposed home of Liberty. The home-nation equation derives its ident ity from nations abroad. Thus, Woolf reveals the geopolitical facet of jingoism. A lthough it is said that “Liberty has made her abode in England,” Three Guineas dramatizes how, from the point of view of gender, tyranny has made its abode in the English fa mily home and therefore in the English nation. Hewart’s rhetoric also captures the sense of ownership that accompanies notions of home and nation—these places are owned by English men specifically. This sense of ownership of private and national space extends to men’s control over women. Taking a psychoanalytic approach, Woolf locates the origins of this will to oppress in the ‘infantile fi xation,’ a subconscious desire to dominate. Echoing Freud, Woolf describes ‘infantile fixation’ as em erging from “some dark place below the level of conscious thought” that harbors emotions like fear and anger (154-55). This is important because, as Woolf observes, “fear a nd anger prevent real fr eedom in the private house” and the public realm, thereby having “a positive share in causing war” (154). For instance, in The Years Col. Pargiter’s unconscious ange r over Eleanor’s weekly trip to perform charity work at the Grove is manifest in his violent attack on the sugarcubes he stirs in his coffee. In Three Guineas Woolf illustrates how this psychology played out in the Victorian home of histor ical patriarchs, drawing on th e lives of some nineteenth-


41 century women writers including Elizabeth Barrett and Charlotte Bront. Showing that despotism and not liberty has made its a bode in the Victorian family home, Woolf presents “the most famous and the best auth enticated” example: Mr. Barrett of Wimpole Street. Father to Elizabeth Barrett, this Victorian patriarch represents the tyranny characteristic of the upper-middle class home because he demanded that his daughter remain restricted to the home. When Eli zabeth Barrett defied her father by marrying Robert Browning and escaping the confines of her father’s home, he “never forgave her for that act of disobedience” (155). By l eaving home to marry the person of her own choosing, Elizabeth Barrett abandons th e private domain ruled by her father Woolf goes on to show how the privat e tyranny typified by Mr. Barrett was socially sanctioned. “Nature, law and propert y,” Woolf insists, normalized the father’s control over daughters: “A da ughter who left her father was an unnatural daughter; her womanhood was suspect. Should she persist furthe r, then law came to [the father’s] help. A daughter who left her father had no means of supporting herself. The lawful professions were shut to he r” (160). Woolf argues that the confinement of women to dependency is consonant with fascist ideology ab road in the present, as well as with the proto-fascist practices of ancient Greece. English, German, Italian, and ancient Greek ideologies confine women to the private realm and prescribe a role of dutiful service to men, thereby divesting women of all power to partake in political processes in the public sphere. In England: ‘Homes are the real places of women. . The Government should give work to men’ (65); in Germany and Italy: ‘There are two worlds in the life of the nation, the world of men and the world of wo men. Nature has done well to entrust the man with the care of his family and nati on. The woman’s world is her family, her


42 husband, her children, and her home’; in ancien t Greece: ‘man must be obeyed, in little things and in great, in just things and unjust. . and in no wise suffer a woman to worst us [the male rulers]’ (167). By drawing out these parallels, Wool f develops geopolitical connections in order to foreground the des potic abuse happening he re and now “in the heart of England” (65), and not only abroad. Together with this focus on geopolitical relationships, Woolf sketches an analogy between the predicament of wo men confined to domestic space and the dilemma English patriarchs now face with the threat of Fa scist domination. The geopolitical relationship here emphasizes a kind of re-assignment of dominant constructions of otherness: abroad the monster has come more openly to the surface. There is no mistaking him there. He has widened hi s scope. He is interfering now with your liberty; he is dictating how you sh all live; he is making distinctions not merely between the sexes, but be tween the races. You are feeling in your own persons what your mothers felt when they were shut out, when they were shut up, because they were women. Now you are being shut out, you are being shut up, because you are Jews, because you are democrats, because of race, because of relig ion. . The whole iniquity of dictatorship, whether in Oxford or Cambridge, in Whitehall or Downing Street, against Jews or against women, in England, or in Germany, in Italy or in Spain is now apparent to you. (122) By making geopolitical connections across multiple spatial scales, Woolf situates English patriarchs in the same place as those who are deemed Other.


43 Woolf further elaborates on the inseparabi lity of home and abroad through the deployment of textual space. In particular, th e scholarly practice of endnoting is used heavily in Three Guineas Conventionally, footnotes or e ndnotes display the sources used by an author to develop an argument and in effect tell the story of a writer’s research process, implicitly serving a kind of narra tive function. They occupy a textual space separate from and subordinate to the main te xt, so that reading of the primary text can proceed fluently, unimpeded by interruptions. This internal division ensures that each portion is relatively self-contained. In Three Guineas the traditional distinction appears to be maintained, but Woolf arranges these textual spaces so that endnotes and text interact, while the endnotes th emselves serve a discursive as well as documentary or narrative function. Woolf complicates the hierarch ical primacy of text over notes, as the endnotes articulate arguments that resonate emphatically with the “main” text. The relationship between text and notes in Three Guineas therefore produces a space that enables a dialogue between what is conventionally privileged (the main text) and what is conventionally marginalized (the endnotes). By disrupting the conventiona l, hierarchical relationshi p between text and notes, Woolf problematizes the privileging of “aut horitative” sources such as those published by educated men and the subordination of popular or historiographically deprivileged sources such as newspapers, memoirs, a nd biographies. For instance, in the second chapter of the main text Woolf responds to a female correspondent who seeks donations to rebuild a women’s college. Ironically, in response to the request Woolf recruits an argument made by C. E. M. Joad, a prominen t male philosopher, outspoken pacifist, and proponent of the antifascist Popul ar Front coalition in Spain ( Spartacus ). Although his


44 pacifism would appear to a lign with Woolf’s politics, Jo ad was an obscene misogynist. According to him, women have been wholly ineffectual in preventing war, and he says that he “doubt[s] whether at any time during the last fifty years women have been more politically apathetic, more socially indifferent than at the present time” (52). Joad goes on to trivialize women’s involveme nt in English politics: “the sooner they [women] give up the pretence of playing with public affairs and return to private life the better. If they cannot make a job of the House of Commons, le t them at least make something of their own houses” (53). Here Woolf appropriates Jo ad’s voice to expose its unreliab ility: the numbered note that leads readers to an e ndnote citation for the text in which Joad’s statements appear also contains another citation. In the endnote W oolf explains that “it is unnecessary to take Mr. Joad’s criticis m seriously” because the other source, The Story of the Disarmament Declaration contains a list, “too long to quote,” of “the peace activities of professional, business and working-class women” (188n2). The placement of the citation for The Story within the endnote that references Joad’s text establishes a dialectic within the note that contests and discredits Jo ad’s argument. The endnote becomes just as important as the “main” text while demonstr ating the value of pol yvocal endnotes. In addition to appropriating and undercu tting Joad’s text via endnotes, Woolf incorporates quotes from the popular Englis h novelist and public figure H. G. Wells. Considering whether to donate for rebuildi ng a women’s college on the grounds that the institution will help prevent war, Woolf pa radoxically employs Wells as an authority on women’s inability to counter war. “There ha s been no perceptible woman’s movement to resist the practical obliteration of their freedom by Fascists or Nazis,” Wells asserts (54). The endnote citation for Wells’s quote, however devitalizes Wells’s assertion, showing


45 that men too have been unsuccessful in re sisting fascism: Woolf intersperses a quote throughout the endnote citing Wells’s text from an unspecified daily paper indicating that ‘Nazis now control the whole of Austria’ (188n3). This appropriation of a devalued source, the newspaper, undermines patriarc hal authority and helps Woolf to sketch a geopolitical relationship. By selecting a quote that illustra tes the Nazis’ domination of Austria’s national space, Woolf foregrounds ho w at home the male sex has failed in its attempts to stifle the spread of fascism abroad. Together with the use of polyvocal, count erdiscursive endnote s, the deployment of textual space in Three Guineas reinforces Woolf’s geopolitical argument about interconnections between here and there, fa scist England and fascist nations abroad. Woolf divides her text into an essay portion and discursive footnotes, many of which are quite long. For instance, in chapter three of the essay, Woolf cites both Hitler and Mussolini as propagating woman’s proper role as caregiver to th e wounded soldier and maker of the home as a place of leisure for th e man returning from his duties in the public realm (132). The numbered note that caps this sentence leads the reader to an endnote quoting William Gerhardi, a contemporaneous British novelist and playwright. According to Gerhardi, women are ‘spiritu al helpers who, endowed with a sensitive capacity for appreciation, may help the few of us [men] afflicted with genius to bear our cross with good grace. Their [women’s] true role . is rather to hold out the sponge to us, cool our brow, while we bleed’ (211n18). The parallels between fascists abroad and Englishman at home are obvious enough. By s ituating Gerhardi’s quote in a distinct textual space that is “separat e” from the space in which we find Woolf’s paraphrasing of Hitler and Mussolini, Woolf forces the reader to shift focus from one textual space to


46 another, only to find a strikingly simila r quote. The deployment of textual space in Three Guineas thus reinforces the notion that in th e ideological opposition between here and there, the two terms are not simply separate but also mutually informing. Even though the nations England, Italy, and Germany formally occupy distin ct geographical spaces, all three nations promulgate fascist ideology. Th e primary geopolitical connections made in Three Guineas between England, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Greece articulate the imbrication of geographical spaces. Within this transnational framework, Woolf stresses the place of the home. As Friedman observes, “the local is for Woolf co-complicit with the national and international” (118). Since patriarchal authority in the English private home resonates with totalitar ianism abroad, fascism at home can be seen occupying a continuum with fascism abroad. In a sens e, the innovative use of textual space in Three Guineas replicates the relationship between geopolitically “sep arate” nations. The peripheral status of endnotes is challenge d as Woolf composes endnotes polyvocally, discursively, and narrationally. This move, in turn, questions the authority of scholarly texts because within a particular endnote, delegitimized sources penetrate and undercut “authoritative” sources. Through these geopoliti cal links and the deployment of textual space, Woolf reels in fascism elsewhere into the here of England. Examining the organizati on of textual space in Three Guineas illuminates Woolf’s politics of space and place, as doe s an examination of the intertextual relationship between Three Guineas and The Years As we know, Woolf originally conceived of these texts as one work, an experimental “essaynovel” to be called The Pargiters Ultimately, Woolf abandoned her experiment in favor of two separate works, one fictional and one non-fictio nal. But Woolf continued to think of these two as “one


47 work.” Therefore in the next chapter I explore intertextual relations between The Years and Three Guineas in order to better unde rstand Woolf’s project of analyzing relations between domestic, national, transnational, and textual spaces.


48 Chapter Four: Conclusion Textual Dis/Junction, Textual Con/Junction: The Pargiters, The Years and Three Guineas In The Pargiters , Woolf sought to create a form that would accommodate both vision and fact by counterposing each ficti onal chapter with a co rresponding essay. The essay sections would comment on the fiction, drawing information from factual sources such as biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and newspapers in order to analyze the social implications of the fictional chapters. But after completing five chapters and six essays constituting an experimental “NovelEssay”, Woolf felt, in Mitchell Leaska’s words, that “the truth of fact and the truth of fiction could not meet in felicitous alliance” ( xiv ). Ultimately, she believed that “the fact ual matter which would constitute the Essay portions was weighty substance that somehow collided with the artistic design she originally planned” (Leaska xiv ). This discrepancy between fact and imagination compelled Woolf to abandon The Pargiters ; separating vision and fact, she expanded the fictional portion into a sweeping depiction of English social and family dynamics in The Years while the factual essays de veloped into a comprehensive critique of fascism and English patriarchy in Three Guineas Perhaps Woolf did her readers a service by aborting the “Novel-Essay” structure. The decision to combine both forms within one textual space seemed to foster a didacticism antagonistic to Woolf’s anti-aut horitarian politics. Th e factual commentary, in part, tells the reader how to read the fictional chapters. For example, the “Second


49 Essay” analyzes the “First Ch apter” depicting the Pargiter daughters’ confinement to the home and the Pargiter sons’ access to the public sphere and formal education. Woolf’s Essay then comments on the discrepancy between the cost of the Pargiter sons’ education and the Pargiter daughters’ meager educatio nal expenses, explaining how middle class women’s exclusion from a formal education and restriction to th e home made available the funds needed to educate boys and men. She substantiates this assertion with evidence that providing a son with a formal educa tion in 1880 would have cost about three hundred pounds a year (30). Counterposing this fact with a quote that reappears in Three Guineas from the biography of the middle cl ass Victorian woman Mary Kingsley— ‘being allowed to learn German was all the paid-for education I ever had’—Woolf concludes that the average spent on educating the daughter s of educated men was around fifty pounds a year (31). The stra tegy of using facts to excav ate the implications of the fiction, while informative, potentially limits the reader’s imagin ative processes in responding to the fiction. In a sense, Wool f controls the reader’s response through her commentary’s suggestion that in order to unde rstand the fiction, the facts of her choosing must be consulted. This approach seems to privilege factual s ources over fictional material. Woolf, however, was conscious of the paro chialism of the interchapter essays, deciding ultimately to excise them. Her decisi on to separate the two does not mean that they are mutually exclusive, though. Although by virtue of th eir publication as different texts they occupy apparently distinct textual sp aces, an intimate relationship exists between them. Moreover, this textual divisi on facilitates a comple mentary relationship between the two without hindering the reade r’s response. Continuing the themes of


50 here/there, home/abroad, and inside/outside of the preceding chapters, in this chapter I argue that by separating the factual from the fictional, Woolf further emphasizes the politics of spatial relationships I will briefly consider the relationships between outside and inside, here and there, home and abroad as a function of Wool f’s spatial politics by looking at The Years and Three Guineas as parts of a deliberately divided whole. In Three Guineas Woolf’s narrator likens the E nglish patriarchal system to a “procession of the sons of educated men” (84). Professional men, exclusively permitted to partake in English politics, constitute the procession. In terestingly, Woolf uses this term both literally and figuratively. The term procession literally designates a linear movement in and through space. Thus W oolf emphasizes the significance of spatial arrangements in sustaining patriarchal rule. Procession also stresses the militaristic undertones of patriarchal orde r, as armies generally ma rch “in line” or “in step.” Moreover, the ceremonies that celebrate Eng lish patriarchy, like those depicted in the photographs integrated throughout the text of Three Guineas take the form of a straight line in which the hierarchical structure of patriarchy is replicated. For instance, the images of military (25), academic (32), judi cial (75), and religious (144) ceremonies show the leaders of these respective institutions at the head of a procession. Metaphorically, the procession i nvolves the institutions and subjects that reinforce the values—money-making at any cost, ‘pride of nationality, religion, sex, family, college, school’ (97)—that Woolf interprets as enc ouraging war. Further, the procession is analogized to “a caravanserai crossing the dese rt,” perhaps conjuring images of imperial conquest in Africa and India, thereby implicatin g the relationship between here and there, home and abroad (74).


51 While men dominate the institutions and practices that make up the procession, the granting of women’s lega l right to enter th e professions in 1919 gave women an opportunity to participate in th e public realm. An important step toward equality, this advancement also posed the threat of women’ s co-optation by the patriarchal structure. Essentially, Woolf precociously recognized that women would ultimately reproduce masculinist values by virtue of their particip ation in the professions. Woolf goes so far as to tell her interlocutor that if women imitate patriarchal va lues and practices “we should merge our identity into yours” (124). As Woolf observes, “F or there, traipsing along at the tail end of the procession, we go ourselv es. And that makes a difference” (74). The difference she refers to is wo men’s potential for participatin g in the professions in a way that undermines the values that provoke wa r. She poses the question, “here and now, do we wish to join that procession or don’t we?” (74). For Woolf, what happens in the here and now regarding women’s professional involvement has far-reaching effects, including the possibility of instigating war not only at home but also abroad. When Woolf’s narrator an swers a letter from an honorar y treasurer of a women’s college asking for donations to help the daught ers of educated men become professional women, she makes her gift conditional on the treasurer’s agreeing that the women’s college will not fall in line w ith the procession of educated men. In her response, Woolf makes a startling connection be tween the values perpetuate d by a university education and the values that encourage war. When the proto-feminist activist Sophia Jex-Blake sought admission to the Edinburgh Royal Colle ge of Surgeons in 1869, she encountered violent opposition. The narrator quotes a newspaper article describing how nearly 200 male students guarded the gates of the build ing so that a woman could not enter their


52 perceived property (79-80). ‘Nothing would induce the authorities encamped within the sacred gates to allow women to enter,’ she explains: “They said that God was on their side, Nature was on their side Law was on their side, and Property was on their side. The college was founded for the benefit of men onl y; men only were entit led by law to benefit from its endowments” (80). From this eviden ce Woolf’s narrator deduces that the type of education professors offer at the ancient universities teaches the sons of educated men to use force as an acceptable and natural respons e to a threat like women entering “their” property. This possessive, violen t behavior, according to her, “prove[s] that education, far from teaching the educated generosity and magnanimity,” inculcates militaristic practices in reaction to a challenge to the dominant so cial order. The narrato r asks, “Are we not right in thinking that if we enter the same professions we shall acquire the same qualities? And do not such qualities lead to war?” (81). Although no comparable situation is depicted in The Years Woolf’s portrayal of Kitty’s teacher Lucy Craddock communicates th e potential for educated women who earn their own livings to fall in line with the ma le procession. This does not mean that Miss Craddock’s achievements are not of great value; instead Woolf complicates an idealization of a woman who has achieved economic independence. Kitty reveres her teacher, a learned and hard-working woman teaching individual pupils and living in Oxford with decidedly meager accommodations due to educated women’s’ exclusion from university jobs and thus university salaries. But Miss Craddock’s fondness for educated men like Dr. Andrews might be an oblique reference to Lucy’s potential for joining “the procession.” Kitty, the daughter of an Oxford Don whose position dictates he entertain distinguished professors, guests, and undergraduates, is constantly in the


53 presence of the men in the procession like Dr. Andrews. Perhaps envious of Kitty’s position, Miss Craddock scolds her pupil wh en Kitty speaks dismissively of Dr. Andrews, a man Lucy calls ‘the greatest hi storian of our age’ (62). Furthermore, the narrator explains that Miss Craddock, admi ring Kitty, “was thinki ng how wonderful it was to be young and lovely and to meet br illiant men” (62). The brilliant men Lucy imagines are the professors who educate the sons of educated men. Kitty, however, knows all too well how “brilliant men” like Dr. Andrews behave in the company of young ladies. When Miss Craddock calls Dr. Andr ews the “greatest hist orian of our age,” Kitty remarks, ‘Well, he doesn’t talk histor y to me,’ and the narrator notes that Kitty immediately recalls “the damp feel of a heavy hand on her knee” (62). Obviously, Dr. Andrews does not take women’s scholarly potential seriously, and the sleazy sexual advance on Kitty suggests that for him women are objects of his desire. Moreover, Dr. Andrews and his students perh aps represent those sa me men who violently guarded the gates to the colle ge so that Sophia Jex-Blake would be excluded from a university education. Given her veneration of professors like Dr. Andrews, Lucy Craddock may be seen as partly complicit with the English institutions that Woolf sees as perpetuating war. Even though she is materially and spatially marginalized and outside of the procession, Miss Craddock simultaneously rep licates the values of professors like Dr. Andrews and thus is inside the procession. With in this network of pa triarchal values, the separation of inside fr om outside is muted. While Lucy represents the possibility of women being complicit with the procession of the sons of educated men, W oolf proposes an “Outsider’s Soci ety” as a corrective to this dilemma in Three Guineas The Outsider’s Society is necessary because Woolf understands


54 that women must enter the professions in or der to achieve financ ial independence. In response to the male barrister’s letter asking he r to join a society in the prevention of war, Woolf boldly refuses to do so because she interpre ts his society as a hierarchical organization and thus a component in the war-making m achine, the procession. Woolf defines the Outsiders as being “without office, meetings, le aders or any hierarchy” (135). Further, an Outsider’s Society member must bind herself to take no share in patrio tic demonstrations, to assent to no form of national self-praise; to make no part of any claque or audience that encourages war; to absent herself from military displays, tournaments, tattoos, prize-givings and a ll such ceremonies that as encourage the desire to impose ‘our’ civilization or ‘ our’ dominion upon other people. (129) Although the Outsider’s Society ope rates within English society, it also remains outside of the procession, the practices that reproduce the English nation and its sense of superiority. In addition, the procession itself is linked to places elsewhere in that public ceremonies validate imperial conquest, “the desire to impose ‘ our’ civilization . on other people.” The relationship between the here of the procession and the there of colonized nations emerges as interwoven. In the final chapter of The Years “Present Day,” outside r practices are subtly foregrounded through the depicti on of the youngest generation of Pargiters, the siblings Peggy and North. Peggy, a doctor, represents pr ofessional women. But her portrayal suggests that although she is in a position to perpetuate the values that encourage war, Peggy is critical of her profession. Pondering the s tifling effects of the professiona l system in English society, Peggy thinks, “the professions; not to live; not to feel; to make money, always money” (337).


55 These thoughts resonate with the assertion in Three Guineas that the “money factor” engenders corrupt practices in that people in th e professions will do whatever it takes, even provoke war, in order to acquire money (89-90) Moreover, Peggy belittle s, perhaps in jest but with at least a smattering of seriousness, her own profession. When Eleanor asks her to explain what dreams mean, Peggy responds, “d octors know very l ittle about the body; absolutely nothing about the mind” ( The Years 365). Because of Peggy’s attitude toward her own profession, she could be seen as a member of the Outsider’s society, refusing to part icipate in the procession that leads to war. Perhaps her most defiant act or non-act, how ever, is her refusal to have children ( The Years 376). For Woolf, this is a strong example of p acifist activism, in that Peggy will not supply “cannon fodder” for the nation and its wars. Pe ggy’s position on the subject of children resonates with a conviction that Woolf espouses in the endnotes to Three Guineas : “one method by which [women] can help to prevent wa r is to refuse to bear” the children who could one day become soldiers or profe ssionals who encourage war (173n10). Although Peggy is inside the professional system by virtue of her occupation, her attitude and practices locate her outside the procession as well. Peggy’s brother North, a World War I vetera n who has lived in Africa and is just returning to England for the first time since the Great War, is also a Woolfian outsider. After conversing with his ultra-patrio tic Anglo-Irish uncle Patrick about the righteousness of the British Empire, North has a revelation of in sight over “another life; a different life”: Not halls and reverberating microphones; not marching in step after leaders, in herds, groups, societies caparisoned. No ; to begin inwardly, and let the devil take the outer form. . Not black shirts green shirts, red shirts. . Why not


56 down barriers and simplify? But a world, he thought, that wa s all one jelly, one mass, would be a rice pudding worl d, a white counterpane world. (389) Here North understands that to value the hi erarchical constructi on of English society, “marching in step after leaders, ” forecloses the possibility of real change in the self and thus in society and the world. But North al so determines that a homogenized world is undesirable, respecting heteroge neity while realizing the inse parability of inside and outside, here and there. Furthermore, the refe rence to “black shirts ” invokes the literal presence of fascism in England at the time, since this term referred to members of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists As Moseley’s followers gained support, “there were increasingly viol ent clashes between the Blacksh irts and the anti-Fascists,” Hermione Lee explains (635). Considering the relationship between The Years and Three Guineas provides a clearer understanding of the c oncept of “the procession of educated men” advanced in Three Guineas Correspondingly, the relationshi p between inside/outside and insiders/outsiders is shown to be both spatia llyand socially-constituted. Subtly showing the ease with which women can comply with the patriarchal system that in Lucy Craddock of The Years not only demonstrates how the insi de/outside dualism is a cultural construction, but also illustrates how an i ndividual can be both marginalized by and recruited to propagate the va lues of English patriarchy. Fu rthermore, the Outsider’s Society that Woolf advocates in Three Guineas and obscurely portrays in The Years underscores how individuals can be inside the social system but sti ll remain outside the reproduction of its dominant values, thereby e ffecting changes at home and abroad, here and there. The deployment of distinct textua l spaces for each text, moreover, enables the


57 reader to make connections between the tw o works without imposing a specific reading on her. Rather, she is invite d to think through for herself the intertextual relationship between here and there, fact and fiction. It may seem ironic that Woolf gave up he r struggle to combine fiction and fact into one textual space in The Pargiters given the deliberate undermining of ideologically separate spaces found in much of her writing. It may appear that she succumbed to conventional pressures dictating a firm dis tinction between fact and fiction. Yet her decision to make The Years a textual space of fiction and Three Guineas a textual space of fact also works to unders core the relational na ture of distinct sp aces: through shared themes, tropes and motifs the two texts complement and evoke one another in such a way that their spatial separati on paradoxically becomes a strategy for emphasizing their interrelatedness. This, in turn, complicates the idea that the “proper” place of imagination is the novel form and the proper place of fact is the essay or non-fiction. This effect could not have been achieved had Woolf carri ed out her original plan of housing The Years and Three Guineas in one textual space; her decision to abort this approach suggests that she understood this. In addition, the relationship between space and subjectivity dramatized in The Years corresponds to shifts in consciousness that Woolf tries to evoke in her readers through the organizat ion of textual space in Three Guineas In this sense their intertextual dynamic communicat es one of the most importa nt features of Woolf’s politicized spaces: a transformed understanding of spatial absolutes as open to change that intersects with a tran sformational understanding of th e constructedness of dominant cultural ideologies concerning nation, family, gender, and the relationship of everyday dualisms such as home and abroad, here and there, inside and outside.


58 Notes Chapter One: 1. It is important to note that the sequencing of chapters is irregular in that the novel’s temporal organization follows no discernible pattern. For example, the 1880 chapter is followed by the 1891 chapter which is succeeded by the 1907 chapter. Perhaps Woolf sought to emphasize the intimate relationship between time and space through the formal organization of the novel. 2. In this chapter my use of quotation marks for the terms here there home elsewhere and abroad serves to call attention to the constructed nature of these concepts. In the interest of readability, I will discontinue us ing quotation marks in subsequent chapters. Chapter Two: 1. For an analysis of Rose’s experience and the dangers posed by women’s access to public space, see Evans, who suggests that threats of se xual assault for middle-class women in the streets reinfo rced the separation of public and private realms (116). 2. McNees identifies the Grove as Lison Grove in Marylebone, Westminster (419n). 3. Tellingly, according to Wikipedia the thrush and the nightingale are of the passerine species, and the nightingale wa s once classified as a member of the thrush family.


59 Chapter Three: 1. Woolf devised the expression “the daughter s of educated men” because she did not believe that women belonged to the same class as their middl e-class fathers or husbands, given that they could not own property or su stain themselves financially. Moreover, she observed, women also lost their nationality if they married non-Englishmen. To refer to the daughters of educated men as “middle-cl ass” would therefore be a misnomer; women constitute a class of their own. The awkwar dness of the phrase is deliberate, calling attention to the inadequacy of existing social and political categorie s to the analysis of women’s situation. Woolf spoke as one of th e “daughters of educated men” because she felt that in order to effect change, one should organize one’s own class rather than intervening in the causes of other classes. 2. Woolf indicates that the orig ins of Western civilization in ancient Greece are anchored in totalitarianism. Calling attention to the portrayal of Creon in Sophocles’s Antigone she interprets this character as a dictator who, like Hitler, Musso lini, and English patriarchs like those depicted in Three Guineas asserts that only men shoul d govern political affairs and responds with violence to any questioning of his authority, his “absolute rule over his subjects” (98). When Antigone challenges Creon’s authority by performing her brother’s burial rites, Creon “shut her not in . a concentration cam p, but in a tomb” (Woolf 167). Chapter Four: 1. Mitchell Leaska edited and published the manuscript containing the five fictional chapters and six essays titled The Pargiters: The Novel Essay portion of “The Years” (1977).


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