The Singing of the Real World

The Philosophy of Virginia Woolf’s Fiction

Mark Hussey


Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
185 pp. 6x9

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“To read The Singing of the Real World is to discover Virginia Woolf all over again. This is a long-needed study, the first to examine Woolf’s writing in a fresh, philosophical context. It casts illumination on her entire work. Mark Hussey has caught the underlying philosophical pattern and deepened the understanding of her fiction. He shows how Woolf probes the deep questions of identity, life, and reality with fresh insights and discoveries. This is a splendid book. No future study of Woolf’s work, no serious reader, can afford to neglect The Singing of the Real World.” —Harvena Richter, University of New Mexico

In a late memoir, Virginia Woolf wrote of the “philosophy” she felt had always stood behind her art. Mark Hussey explores that philosophy and makes it more accessible by examining the perennial themes of Woolf’s fiction in the light of her own ideas on how we should read her work.

A central theme of Dr. Hussey’s study is Woolf’s idea of reality. Hussey shows that reality was something ineffable that Woolf felt was a pattern behind the randomness of everyday life. Woolf found that, when thinking, reality always doubles back on itself as the limits of language are reached. Perennial themes and events echo back and forth throughout her novels.

Mark Hussey provides a fresh look at the insights Woolf offers into the nature of human existence. He combines the insights of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and new feminist critical thought to produce a reading of Woolf that has implications beyond the field of fiction.

Mark Hussey is adjunct instructor of English at Pace University.