judith shakespeare section help support woolf H u m a n i t i e s

judith shakespeare section help support woolf H u m a n i t i e s

In her short essay “Modern Fiction,” Woolf advocates for unconventional writing in fiction. She questions how writers try to recreate an exact description of a place or person, impose a specific length and format for a novel, and confine their stories to the conventions of genre. She writes:

. . we go on perseveringly, conscientiously, constructing our two and thirty chapters

after a design which more and more ceases to resemble the vision in our minds. So

much of the enormous labour of proving the solidity, the likeness to life, of the story i

s not merely labour thrown away but labour misplaced to the extent of obscuring and blotting out the light of the conception. The writer seems constrained, not by his own

free will but by some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant who has him in thrall, to provide

a plot, to provide comedy, tragedy, love interest, and an air of probability . . . . But sometimes, more and more often as time goes by, we suspect a momentary doubt, a spasm of rebellion, as the pages fill themselves in the customary way. Is life like this? Must novels be like this? (“Modern Fiction”)

The same kinds of questions could be–and are–asked of nonfiction. In A Room of One’s Own, Woolf makes an argument, but in unexpected ways. What do you think of the way Woolf crafts the argument in Chapter 3? Consider one of the following prompts to help you focus your response:

  • Did the blurring of truth and fiction work for you as a strategy? For example, did the Judith Shakespeare section help support Woolf’s argument?
  • Was one or more of the rhetorical appeals evident in a more creative way than we have seen so far in the course? If so, was it effective?
  • Did Woolf’s creative use of sentence-level rhetorical devices and/or techniques associated with fiction help persuade you of her points?
  • Choose another focus, but be sure to make specific and concrete references to Chapter 3 and, if needed, lecture material.