Woolf, Joyce and Proust

Woolf, Joyce and Proust

June 22, 2018

“Woolf, Joyce and Proust ‘hesitate to impose on life, which is their subject, an order which it does not possess in itself’, partly because they are seeking to represent ‘a more real reality’”. That assertion raises and relies on three central points: that life does not possess the order it is often attributed in fiction, […]

London in the noughties

June 9, 2018

A snapshot of London in the 2000’s obscures the fact that its social and spatial fabric was in the midst of a major process of transition which had begun during the 18th century and continued at least until the mid-20th century. London’s internal organization was changing from a situation in which the workplace and the […]

The Elephant’s Journey

June 6, 2018

The Elephant’s Journey is rather hard to classify as real. Although its settings did exist, Saramago has hardly taken pains to be accurate in his stereotypical characerisations. The king is the standard indecisive buffoon huffed up on his own sense of power “” The queen a overly emotional fop who is ultimately very self centred […]

Reacting to the present

May 31, 2018

It is all too often, and too easily, forgotten that the Modernist was strongly reactionary, defined as much by its anxiety about the creed of others as it was by the principles of its own.   One of the most intriguing tensions in Modernism is the political reservation about the rise of ‘democracy’, an ideology […]

Where the wild things are

May 23, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the most enjoyable experiences possible. Getting back in touch with nature and being able to finally let your hair down in a stream or a wood. No issues, no worries, no complications. It sounds idyllic but we do have a bit of a spoiler to tell you. It’s not […]

London Society

May 22, 2018

Why did London‘s social structure and spatial form develop in the ways which many historians have observed, and not in others? And why, in particular, did slums proliferate in some areas and attractive neighbourhoods in others? What pressures caused transportation networks to assume certain forms and not others? Why was so little done before the 1880’s […]

Diction and metaphor

May 21, 2018

It is the simplicity of diction and metaphor, in fact, which most clearly signals the change in her: the biting criticisms directed towards the selfish and cowardly halfbeliever open out into the glad acquiescence of the philosophical atheist: I did not know, ten years ago, what life might be, in regard to freedom, vigour, and […]


When thinking about the London theatre scene, it must be borne in mind that Newman’s Apologia as a whole is polemical: structure and content are controlled by its retaliatory role. Charles Kingsley had published a thinly-disguised attack upon Newman’s character and integrity, to which the Apologia was a response. Though it is a spiritual rather […]

Sartor Resartus

Reading Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, (1833-34) John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua, (1864) Francis Newman’s Phases of Faith, (1853) even the Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, (1887) one begins to suspect that there were as many tailor-made versions of Christianity as there were thinkers. John Addington Symonds is quite explicit about this salvage operation: […]


London’s streets are filthy, and have been for years. Street ‘improvement’ as it was condescendingly known, was the earliest attempt to remove central-area slums. It was aimed at the relatively self-contained, crowded clusters of mean streets and delapidated tenements, called ‘rookeries,’ which conjured up images as dens of crime and immorality in the dominant-class mind. […]

Concluding Woolf Blog Series

May 16, 2018

This series of blogs set out to examine Virginia Woolf’s ideology of character and to examine the relationship between her stylistic construction of it and the tropes of her literary predecessors. It has shown that the two groups differed on a key number of issues, and that although Woolf consciously set herself in opposition to Edwardian […]

modern fiction

May 15, 2018

The assertion that “While much modern fiction seems to represent contemporary life, we would be wrong to expect it to be ‘real’ or to offer an account of ‘the truth’” is an interesting one. It really raises a lot more questions than it answers, and this essay intends to explore the central tenets: does modern […]


May 13, 2018

Beetlejuice?   The people of London have always been renowned for their ability to adapt and accept in the face of change. Our language, our culture and much of our philosophy is heavily influenced by other nations, albeit with our own spin put on things. The culinary scene has always been a prime example of […]


May 10, 2018

Characterising the presentation of sexuality in Blake’s poetry is problematic; as with so many of themes explored in hi ork, there is almost inevitably no fixed answer, no hidden message to fully decipher. Instead there are impressions, arguments that the poem seems to support but never asserts as absolute. This essay will examine the theme […]

Mixed voices

May 9, 2018

By mixing the voices together so indiscriminately Woolf creates a bizarrely fluid narrative that will reoccur throughout her career, most notably in Mrs Dalloway and The Waves. The reason for this ties in perfectly with her own ideas about character and characterisation. To her the world is a shifting place, and by having both a […]

Times are changing

May 5, 2018

In the past century, obviously, the suburbs of major cities like London have expanded to include people who earlier would have been considered non-middle class, such as blue collar workers and salespersons. Whether this increase in real terms is derived from America’s immigrant background and of the various incarnations of the American dream, is probably […]

Irish nationals

May 4, 2018

Irish nationalism is all too often seen as the battle ground of men, occupying city post offices and exchanging furious rhetoric, a generalisation that sees women marginalised. In actuality, women were linked to the very core of nationalism not only, as critcs like Eagles note, because of their involvement in radicalism but because the very […]

Jacob’s Rooms of his Own

May 3, 2018

. The general method of characterisation in Jacob’s Room is one that involves mixing brief fragments of free indirect speech reflecting internal monologue, with descriptions and summaries from the narrator. This, for example, is one of the extracts that helps to establish Jacob’s mother Betty.   Betty Flanders, enlarged her figure, tinged her face with […]

Magic and creativity

May 2, 2018

There is a relationship between beauty, magic and creativity for which a few words are in order. There is something magical about beauty and the creative process which produces that beauty. Unfortunately, magic is probably even less understood than beauty. In its common connotation, magic implies getting something for nothing, a manipulation of physical reality […]

Equality for All

May 1, 2018

Historians generally agree that anticlerical republicans deliberately stymied women’s acceptance as full citizens, refusing to sacrifice what they felt was their tenuous hold on power to women who they believed would give their vote to the Catholic Church or to royalists. While feminists were considered unnatural women and disloyal citizens, women on the whole were […]


April 27, 2018

The equality and directness of the tenure relations between estate owners and tenants in general meant that both parties observed their obligations under the leasehold agreement. Landlords maintained much of the physical infrastructure or saw to it that parish authorities or private companies did so, while tenants kept their homes in good repair. Together they […]

Realism Revoked

April 26, 2018

    There is an obvious issue with arguing that Woolf’s fiction and her characters are ‘realistic’ portrayals. In many of her novels, the reader is allowed insight into the thoughts and minds of characters and many of these thoughts are relayed through a narrator via indirect free speech. If one views Woolf’s presentation of […]

Read all about it

April 25, 2018

Newsletters are the hallmark of suburbia, the reminder that you have moved out of the city and into its middle classes. They might feature a section called Environmental Update, which informs residents that “the wetlands area will be reclaimed this spring and wild flowers planted… .with every effort made to eradicate poison ivy.” Similarly, understanding […]

Return to Rouen

April 22, 2018

One of the recurring themes of Rouen is a sense of isolation and distance. The poem itself may be considered a ‘war poem’ yet it is never dealt with directly. The narrator is a nurse, someone who deals with the aftermath of the action and provides a secondary service rather than actively participating in the […]

Mrs Dalloway

There is nothing definite about the nature of a sign then the base of signs, called language, is simply a subjective pool of interactions between meaningless phrases given affirmation only by the fact that they are not another: “What characterizes each most exactly is being whatever the others are not.” If “nothing is a sign unless […]


By mixing the voices together so indiscriminately Woolf creates a bizarrely fluid narrative that will reoccur throughout her career, most notably in Mrs Dalloway and The Waves. The reason for this ties in perfectly with her own ideas about character and characterisation. To her the world is a shifting place, and by having both a narrative that dips […]

A Perfect London CV

April 18, 2018

I am dedicated, determined, innovative, creative, hardworking, organised, critical, passionate. So proclaims my CV, and the CV of every other person of my generation who finds themselves unemployed, disillusioned and, frankly, a bit confused. After all, we are the things that we claim. Believe it or not, the media portrayal of lazy, lethargic students unwilling […]

Rising Nationalism

Pegeen represents Irish culture in its most hypocritical state. Her love for Christy turning to hatred the second he breaks an unwritten code of conduct is rather remniscient of the Irish peoples treatment of Charles Parnell pleaded with the Irisih people not to throw him to the English wolfs after he was involved in a […]

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