“Q. And Babies? A. And babies”

Conor Tomás Reed

in Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Woolf

Published by Liverpool University Press

Published in print June 2013 | ISBN: 9780989082624
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9781781384961 | DOI:

Series: Woolf Selected Papers LUP

“Q. And Babies? A. And babies”

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This chapter examines the politics of the photograph in Three Guineas in relation to contemporary representational strategies for political protest. The image of the body heap in wartime—the gruesomely iconic pile of dead, frequently unarmed civilians—is thoroughly embedded in modern social consciousness, returning again and again as a kind of chorus to history's cacophonies. In Three Guineas, her 1938 work of radical feminist pacifism, Virginia Woolf describes the experience of receiving photographs from the embattled Spanish Republic during its revolution and civil war, which “the Government sends with patient pertinacity about twice a week.” The chapter considers Woolf's construction of a recognition of horrors into a verbal narrative so as to stop the cycle of visual trauma, which can in turn rupture the expectation of endless war and mass death from which we both distance and shackle our sense of selves.

Keywords: war; politics; photographs; Three Guineas; political protest; body heap; pacifism; visual trauma; mass death

Chapter.  2263 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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