Sunday, October 9, 2011

Discussion Question for Virginia Woolf

1) It seems that the club has explored two main themes in most of our selections. First, is the nature of America and American thought (not particularly relevant for Woolf) and the other is the nature of modernism. While we have explored other themes, we seem to have returned to one or both of the larger themes in many of the selections. What do Woolf’s books contribute to our understanding of the nature of modernism?

2) How does Woolf compare to our other authors who wrote in the modernist tradition or about modernism such as Scott Fitzgerald, Clive Bell, Muesil, Mann, Marcel Proust and Alfred Appel?

3) How is gender and male and female roles explored throughout the novel? Are these issues approached differently in the two books?

4) Time is a major theme in this novel. How does Woolf and her characters approach the passage of time? Was her stretching and speeding up of time effective? How did her use of time compare to other authors we have read?

5) Would you agree that Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey are each tyrants of roughly similar rank in their own ways?

6) What does the Lighthouse, and going to the lighthouse, represent? How does this compare to The Castle in Kafka?

7) What of the two books appeared more fictional in nature?

8) I hope you found Woolf’s writing as beautiful as I did. Are there any passages that particularly stand out for you? Any real clunkers? Hint, the professor’s musing about the power of the intellect and the alphabet have always struck home with me.

9) If To the Lighthouse is a novel about the search for meaning in life, how do the characters conduct their search? Are any of them successful in finding an answer?

10 Do you buy the basic thesis of Room of One’s Own?

1) What has changed since the publication of the book that has enabled more woman to write about the broad range of issues that Woolf argued was their due?

12) What is the modern equivalent of a room of one’s own and 500 pounds a year?

13) Woolf mentions in both books many writers and other cultural figures who are largely unknown today. Many of other selections similarly have assumed a high level of cultural literary that isn’t present in contemporary times. When, how and why did we get this way?

Why would anyone be afraid Virginia Woolf?