Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Virginia Woolf and Michel de Montaigne: Ethics and Aesthetics of the Literary Essay

Laura María Lojo Rodríguez


Virginia Woolf’s literary essays emerge out of an eagerness to communicate a self at odds with its own time, rejecting ideological assumptions present in her contemporaries’ critical practice. Woolf’s reformulation articulates itself as a return to the humble origins of the essay as form, which she acknowledged to appear embodied in Michel de Montaigne’s Essais (1580). The present paper aims to explore the ethics of subversion which underpin Woolf’s criticism and her conception of the literary essay, along with the aesthetics which its form presents has promulgated by its “modern” inventor, from Woolf’s first reception of the Frenchman’s essayist to her own first collection of criticism, The Common Reader (1925).

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