Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Literary Criticism General

Virginia Woolf and Poetry

by (author) Emily Kopley

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2021
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Virginia Woolf's career was shaped by her impression of the conflict between poetry and the novel, a conflict she often figured as one between masculine and feminine, old and new, bound and free. In large part for feminist reasons, Woolf promoted the triumph of the novel over poetry, even as she adapted some of poetry's techniques for the novel in order to portray the inner life. Woolf considered poetry the rival form to the novel. A monograph on Woolf's sense of genre rivalry thus offers a thorough reinterpretation of the motivations and aims of her canonical work. Drawing on unpublished archival material and little-known publications, the book combines biography, book history, formal analysis, genetic criticism, source study, and feminist literary history. Woolf's attitude towards poetry is framed within contexts of wide scholarly interest: the decline of the lyric poem, the rise of the novel, the gendered associations with these two genres, elegy in prose and verse, and the history of English Studies. Virginia Woolf and Poetry makes three important contributions. It clarifies a major prompt for Woolf's poetic prose. It exposes the genre rivalry that was creatively generative to many modernist writers. And it details how holding an ideology of a genre can shape literary debates and aesthetics.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Emily Kopley received her bachelor's degree from Yale University and her doctorate from Stanford University. She is a Research Affiliate in the Department of English at Concordia University and a Lecturer in Jewish Studies at McGill University. Her work on Woolf has appeared inThe Review of English Studies, theTLS, and elsewhere. She is a board member ofWoolf Studies Annual.

Other titles by Emily Kopley