In 1919, Virginia Woolf wrote an essay entitled “Modern Novels” inwhich, among other things, she bemoaned the state of the novel as shethen saw it. “In making any survey, even the freest and loosest, of modern fiction,” Woolf began, “it is difficult not to take it for granted that the modern practice of the art is somehow an improvement upon the old” (189).1 As Woolf soon makes clear, however, this is not her view of things at all. Instead, she argues that it is “doubtful whether in the course of the centuries […] we have learnt anything about making literature. We do not come to write better” (189).
KeywordsLiterary History Literary Text Open Book Woman Writer Literary Canon
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