Journal Article

Woolf's Cesspoolage: On Waste and Resignation

Sara Crangle

in The Cambridge Quarterly

Published on behalf of Cambridge Quarterly

Volume 40, issue 1, pages 1-20
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0008-199X
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1471-6836 | DOI:
Woolf's Cesspoolage: On Waste and Resignation

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Virginia Woolf has a reputation for writing eminently skilful fictions that exclude the sordid and the abject. This essay takes explicit issue with Woolf's sanitised legacy by exploring her ongoing preoccupation with the abject human body. Woolf proves interested in sewage and sanitation from her earliest writings; come her high modernist work, we see her using waste aesthetically and parodically in ways akin to figures like Joyce. But with her last book, Between the Acts, Woolf takes her examination of abjection a step further: her narrative proves resigned to the ubiquity and inevitability of waste in a way that foreshadows later literary approaches to this topic, and Beckett's in particular.

Journal Article.  8577 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Art ; Film ; Music

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