Encircled by War

Barbara Lounsberry

in Virginia Woolf, the War Without, the War Within

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2018 | ISBN: 9780813056937
Published online January 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780813053790 | DOI:
Encircled by War

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Territorial trespass and attack intensify in the years covered in Virginia Woolf's two final diary books: the 109-entry of her 1940 diary and the 10-entry of her 1941 diary. In April of 1940, Germany invades Norway and Denmark. In May, the neutral states of Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg fall. In June, Hitler's storm troopers parade up Paris's Champs-Élysées. Only England now remains. On July 19, Hitler asks England to surrender. In August, he orders a total blockade of Great Britain and begins a night-time bombing assault—the London Blitz. To counter, Woolf aims for a weightier diary in 1940, poignantly an evening diary for “Old Virginia.” As these last two diaries movingly show, Virginia Woolf fights on both in her public works and in her diary. Surrounded now and cut off, she holds on until she can fight no more, dying from suicide in March of 1941.

Keywords: 1940 Diary; 1941 Diary; Suicide; The Blitz; London Bombing; Hilter

Chapter.  10093 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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