Eminent feminist critic Gillian Beer's work on Woolf, George Eliot, and Victorian scientific discourse are well known and admired. As the essays in this collection affirm, Beer has an extraordinary command of British cultural history, a talent for interpretative prose, and a gift for pursuing genuinely rewarding questions. In Virginia Woolf: The Common Ground, Beer's essays on Woolf are brought together for the first time in a single volume.
Through her close investigative textual readings, she demonstrates how Woolf's conceptualizations of history and narrative are intimately bound up with her ways of thinking about women, writing, and social and sexual relations. This is demonstrated through precise, detailed configurations, setting Woolf alongside texts both contemporary and distant, scientific and literary, with the effect that Woolf's writing is illuminated in entirely new and unexpected contexts.
Beer's introduction pulls together the critical themes of her work, and renders Woolf accessible to the large audience of scholars interested in English Literature as well as women's writing.
"In a field that has more than its share of trendy, jargon-ridden, reductive appropriations of Woolf's texts for various easily attainable ends, Beer is a reader who honors the complexities of Woolf's texts while illuminating them; she refuses over and over again to resolve the complex into the simple, to tidy up the contradictions of a given text." --John Whittier-Ferguson, University of Michigan
Gillian Beer is King Edward VII Professor of English Literature and President, Clare Hall at University of Cambridge.