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ERIC Number: ED377499
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Virginia Woolf: Postmodern Writing Instructor.
Bowers, Bradley R.
In her much-quoted statement of principles "A Room of One's Own," Virginia Woolf wishes for "a woman's sentence." In that essay, she doubts that a woman can use the same sentence as a man to write literature, because "the weight, the pace, the stride of a man's mind are too unlike her own for her to lift anything substantial from him successfully." If no definition has been formulated of what exactly constitutes, or identifies, or distinguishes a woman's sentence from any other, inquiry in this area nevertheless behooves the writing instructor. A key to the concept of "a woman's sentence" is Woolf's judgment that a sentence of this sort needs to combat the stifling oppression of naming, of predicative logic, of linearity: "Better it would be, we feel, to leave a blank or even to outrage our sense of probability than to stuff the crevices with this makeshift substance." Both the ellipsis and the dash have interesting histories in the English language, having only been distinguished from each other in the mid-19th century. About this time George Meredith comments through the narrative persona in "The Tragic Comedians" that the ellipsis is a unique expression of the female mind. Indeed, the ellipsis may well be an originally feminine incursion into, or subversion of, the patriarchal language in which a woman must write. Only occasionally in Woolf's writing does the ellipsis just mean that something has been left out. In her novels, the ellipsis shows "how definitely, by not saying something, she says it." (Contains 52 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A