chapter
4 Pages

Virginia Woolf

1882-1941 English

Virginia Woolf occupies two different roles in the history of the novel: she is a founder of modernism and an important feminist social critic. The conjunction of these two roles defines what is most distinctive about her. In her literary works, as in those of few other modernists, formal innovations function as social commentary and as acts of resistance. Modernism is usually considered a purely aesthetic movement, identified by the use of distinctive literary techniques such as fragmentation, stream of consciousness, images, and nonreferential prose. Critics who view Woolf as a modernist describe her as a writer who creates beautiful, mythic, and poetic patterns, presenting consciousness as what she called a "luminous halo" surrounding everything.