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In the Hollow of the Wave

Virginia Woolf and Modernist Uses of Nature
Bonnie Kime Scott

BUY Cloth · 288 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813932606 · $43.50 · May 2012
BUY Ebook · 288 pp. · ISBN 9780813932620 · $43.50 · May 2012

Examining the writings and life of Virginia Woolf, In the Hollow of the Wave looks at how Woolf treated "nature" as a deliberate discourse that shaped her way of thinking about the self and the environment and her strategies for challenging the imbalances of power in her own culture—all of which remain valuable in the framing of our discourse about nature today. Bonnie Kime Scott explores Woolf’s uses of nature, including her satire of scientific professionals and amateurs, her parodies of the imperial conquest of land, her representations of flora and fauna, her application of post-impressionist and modernist modes, her merging of characters with the environment, and her ventures across the species barrier.

In shedding light on this discourse of Woolf and the natural world, Scott brings to our attention a critical, neglected, and contested aspect of modernism itself. She relies on feminist, ecofeminist, and postcolonial theory in the process, drawing also on the relatively recent field of animal studies. By focusing on multiple registers of Woolf’s uses of nature, the author paves the way for more extended research in modernist practices, natural history, garden and landscape studies, and lesbian/queer studies.


This book is a truly original and substantial contribution to studies of Virginia Woolf, and of modernism in general. Professor Scott has produced an authoritative, definitive, feminist opus on the relationship of modernism—Woolf's in particular—to what we think of in general terms as 'nature.' She offers valuable insights into the complex interrelationships between Woolf and the other members of her circle, the major works of and on modernism, feminist criticism of modernism, and the most recent, cutting-edge scholarship on Woolf, on ecocriticism and ecofeminist criticism, and on modernist uses of nature.

Marianne DeKoven, Rutgers University

Like Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf looks good in green in Bonnie Scott's triumph of an up-to-the-moment reading of Woolf as an ecofeminist. For ‘there she is’ as Scott quotes from the naturalist, environmental, and biological English tradition from Darwin to Sir James Jeans, a Woolf caught in the wild and in the garden, captured forever for a twenty-first-century audience by the wise and influential critic whose previous works form an indispensable library for students of modernism.

Jane Marcus, CUNY Graduate Center and the City College of New York

About the Author(s): 

Bonnie Kime Scott, Professor Emerita of Women's Studies at San Diego State University and Professor Emerita of English at the University of Delaware, is the author or editor of several books, including, most recently, Gender and Modernism: Critical Concepts (in four volumes).

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