Virginia Woolf and the Literature of the English Renaissance
This book examines the profound effect, on a major critic and novelist of the twentieth century, of the period of English literature's greatest glory, the Renaissance. Beginning in the sixteenth century with the poems and plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and with prose writings such as Hakluyt's Voyages, and continuing through the great lyric poets of the seventeenth century, the Renaissance influenced every aspect of Virginia Woolf's work. All
her available writing - letters, diaries, reading-notes, drafts of essays, and novels, and feminist polemic - are explored in this illuminating study of Virginia Woolf's varied reactions to the period and its impact on her fiction and criticism. Each of the novels, in particular, is shown to integrate some
element of Renaissance literature in its language, characterization, and often structure, enriching the fiction; thus this study deepens our understanding of Woolf's creative process, and our enjoyment of the works.