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Private Brother, Public World

  • Sara Ruddick

Abstract

We have recently become sensitive to daughter-mother and sister relationships. We have always welcomed attention to the powerful effect fathers have on their daughters’ lives. But a girl’s relation to her brothers is relatively uncharted. For Virginia Woolf that relation was profoundly important. When in A Room of One’s Own she asks us to imagine the life of Shakespeare’s sister she asks us to reflect upon a sexual, domestic and political opposition which the very term sister-brother connotes. When, in Three Guineas, she identifies herself as the daughter of an educated man, she is speaking to one of the sons of that privileged class, to a brother and man of power whom a sister has reason both to suspect and to admire. In Night and Day, To the Lighthouse, Flush, The Years and Between the Acts actual and surrogate brother-sister relationships are explored. Woolf herself acknowledged the importance of her brother Thoby for Jacob’s Room and The Waves, the two novels inspired by and often taken to be a tribute to him.

Keywords

Public World Male Power Sexual Autonomy Dark Pool Male Hero 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 4.
    Virginia Woolf, ‘The Introduction’, in Mrs Dalloway’s Party, ed. Stella McNichol (London: Hogarth Press, 1973).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Plato, Phaedrus, trs. R. Hackforth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972) p. 96.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    See, inter cilia, Duncan Grant’s memoir in Recollections of Virginia Woolf, ed. Joan Russell Noble (London: Peter Owen, 1972).Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    J. W. Graham, ‘Point of View in The Waves: Some Services of the Style’, in Virginia Woolf, ed. Thomas S. W. Lewis (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975).Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Simone Weil, The Iliad or the Poem of Force, Pendle Hill Pamphlet (Wallingford, Penn.). I am amending some of the phrases in the light of the translation used in the Simone Weil Reader, ed. George A. Panichas (New York: McKay, 1977).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jane Marcus 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Ruddick

There are no affiliations available

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