. Virginia Woolf and the Spanish Civil War

Gayle Rogers

in Modernism and the New Spain

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199914975
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980192 | DOI:

Series: Modernist Literature and Culture

. Virginia Woolf and the Spanish Civil War

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Chapter Four maps a feminist geography grounded in the collaborations between Victoria Ocampo and Virginia Woolf. It takes as its point of departure Woolf’s plan to “fight… English tyranny” in response to the death of beloved nephew Julian Bell in the Spanish war. She attempts to illuminate in Three Guineas (1938) the connections between fighting Spanish fascism and dismantling the English patriarchal system. I outline the ways in which Woolf, within an acrimonious and politicized British literary culture in the 1930s, comes to envision an intellectual space for cosmopolitan feminism and to attach it to Spain’s war. Here, she models the literary-political critiques and activism of her colleague Ocampo, with whom she conversed about fascism and masculinity as she composed Three Guineas, and an overlooked feminist editor and financier of modernism, especially through her review Sur in Buenos Aires. Ocampo also employed the form of the public epistle, marshaling Woolf’s feminism to fight battles far beyond those that Woolf conceived in her essay-letters. I follow Ocampo’s work through Argentina’s “Infamous Decade,” through her work with the North American writer and friend of Ortega’s Waldo Frank, through her autobiography, and finally through her dissidence and imprisonment during Juan Perón’s regime. Ocampo animated the cosmopolitan feminism that Woolf articulated, and their common ideals were staked in the 1930s to the survival of the Spanish Republic—the last, endangered hope for a European New Spain and its women.

Keywords: Virginia Woolf; Victoria Ocampo; Waldo Frank; Sur; Latin America; Spanish Civil War; feminism; autobiography

Chapter.  17266 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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