Virginia Woolf and Music

9780253012463: Hardback
Release Date: 20th May 2014

9780253012555: Paperback
Release Date: 20th May 2014

9 music exx., 3 tables

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 348

Indiana University Press

Virginia Woolf and Music

Hardback / £77.00
Paperback / £28.99

These essays explore music and its relationship to language, aesthetics, and culture in the life and work of the preeminent Modernist writer Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, A Room of One's Own, and other works). Approaching Woolf from musicology, literary criticism, and gender studies, the collection examines her musical background; music in her fiction and critical writings; and the importance of music in the Bloomsbury milieu and its role within the larger framework of Modernism. Making use of Woolf's diaries, letters, fiction, and the testimony of her contemporaries, these essays illuminate the rich and deeply musical nature of Woolf's works.

Preface / Mihály Szegedy-Maszák
List of Abbreviations
Introduction / Adriana Varga
Part I: Music and Bloomsbury Culture
1. Bloomsbury and Music / Rosemary Lloyd
2. Virginia Woolf and Musical Culture / Miháy Szegedy-Maszák
Part II Ut Musica Poesis: Music and the Novel
3. Music, Language, and Moments of Being: From The Voyage Out to Between the Acts / Adriana Varga
4. The Birth of Rachel Vinrace from the Spirit of Music / Jim Stewart
5. "The Worst of Music": Listening and Narrative in Night and Day and "The String Quartet" / Vanessa Manhire
6. Flying Dutchmen, Wandering Jews: Romantic Opera, Anti-Semitism and Jewish Mourning in Mrs Dalloway / Emma Sutton
7. The Efficacy of Performance: Musical Events in The Years / Elicia Clements
8. Sounding the Past: The Music in Between the Acts / Trina Thompson
Part III Music, Art, Film and Virginia Woolf’s Modernist Aesthetics
8. Broken Music, Broken History: Sounds and Silence in Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts / Sanja Bahun
9. "Shivering Fragments": Music, Art, and Dance In Virginia Woolf’s Writing / Evelyn Haller
10. Chiming the Hours: A Philip Glass Soundtrack / Roger Hillman and Deborah Crisp

Adriana Varga teaches English and Global and Historical Studies at Butler University, Indianapolis.

"This book explains why Virginia Woolf believed that 'a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world' and how profoundly she was influenced by many other composers. Reading the essays collected here, we understand Woolf’s conviction that 'we are the music; we are the thing itself.'"

Susan Gubar, author of Rooms of Our Own

"Virginia Woolf and Music is a fascinating and important contribution to scholarship about Virginia Woolf, music, and interdisciplinary art."

Music Reference Services Quarterly

"In a letter to Elizabeth Trevelyan... Virginia Woolf revealed: 'I always think of my books as music before I write them.' [This book is] providing a valuable counterpoint to studies that develop Woolf's interest in the visual arts at the expense of her engagements with music and performance."

Times Literary Supplement

"Involving numerous disciplines from history and biography to cultural and inter-media studies... Virginia Woolf and Music requires readers to cope with the span of Western culture from ancient history to the latest neologisms."

Virginia Woolf Bulletin

"This well-researched collection has value for those interested in music as well as in literature.... Recommended."


"Overall, Virginia Woolf and Music is a truly comprehensive, multi-perspective, and up-to-date survey of the undeniable role of music inWoolf ’s life and writings."

Music and Letters