The present volume seeks to explore the implications of Woolf’s contemporaneity in terms of her own era and of ours. By looking at how one can grasp the meaning of one’s time from within and without, it traces ways in which her fictional as well as non-fictional works reflect on or engage with those forms of untimeliness or out-of-timeness in the present which enable an author to see its shadows or perceive its obscurity. While the undertaking suggests a philosophically-inclined quest, it is no less inscribed in acutely topical, political issues as it is necessarily in the search for a poetics corresponding to Woolf’s vision. Attempting to understand Virginia Woolf’s complex relationship with her time also sheds light on how we read and engage with her works today. It reveals ways of understanding her writing as an indictment of the barbarity she perceived in her age and in the culture it both inherited and produced, defining those crystallising moments when the present of writing becomes contemporary to us and glimpsing spectres at work within her texts as not only ghosts of the past but the premonitory figures of our own century.
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