Quentin Bell: Virginia Woolf a Biography

In: People

Submitted By kingno
Words 1933
Pages 8
-Quentin Bell: Virginia Woolf A Biography, Harcourt Books, 1972, Pp. 314-

Virginia Woolf: The Scrutiny of Her Depiction

The nephew of Virginia Woolf, Quentin Bell, does his best to define and reveal whom his aunt was, but I did not get what I wanted from Bell’s book. In my accounts of reading Virginia Woolf’s writings like “To the Lighthouse” and “Mrs. Dalloway”, I found myself captivated by Woolf’s observant and insightful mind that seemed to clearly see into itself and the minds of others including those in her family. Many of Woolf’s works alluded to views of distributive justice, socioeconomic processes, social exclusion, and assessments of patriarchy, but what I found in this biography was a person who appeared to be self-centered, and difficult to understand. Although Bell saw her as an elegant women with a brilliant mind that at times sporadically had nervous breakdowns it seemed that too often her brilliance didn’t come through to me because Bell failed to do what Woolf did in her writings, which was to create an image of a character that revealed her [Woolf’s] nature without constantly having to remind me. Both Bell and Woolf had great minds and an excellent sense of artistry, so it is unfair to compare Quentin Bell to Virginia Woolf. So my critique is not of Quentin Bell as a person, but his ideas of who Virginia Woolf was. And in this case Bell has plenty of insight on Woolf but tends to focus on details and journals in her life that do not help to truly resonate who Virginia Woolf was as a modernist and social thinker.
The book was written with lots of detail that carries loads of information about Woolf’s life, but Bell’s information all seemed to come from the material of Virginia's letters. Which makes you wonder what information you are actually getting from Bell. I assume he was allowing the reader to see Woolf’s interpretations of everyone…...

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