Gwen Rose: Thoughts on the Woolf Salon Project

What I am getting to is the way in which—inspired by the group’s focus on the third chapter of Woolf’s Three Guineas (1938)—a question came up that asked (and I’m paraphrasing), Is the reading/writing of activist texts enough? And enough for what? Don’t we need to be out on the streets, protesting? Was reading/writing enough for Woolf, pre-WWII, and is it enough for us now, in increasingly tumultuous times? How, why, and when to relate Woolf’s text to our own lives has always felt, to me, a relevant topic, but I found these more developed questions motivating. Activism takes many forms, of course—but I’ve never heard a group of scholars so willing to question their own place in things, and this is notable because academia has some entrenched practices and power structures that are worth questioning. Hearing tenured professors, whom I greatly respect, ask themselves, out loud in a public setting, what more they could be doing to offset or mitigate power imbalances was incredibly refreshing. And so was talking about protests and acknowledging that not everyone can get out into the streets, but allowing that they have other ways of contributing that are also valid.  

Gwen Rose (she/they) is a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan. Gwen’s research interests include modernism and the lived experience of marginalized peoples. Her dissertation combines these interests, examining the representation of transgender characters within literary modernism. 

Published by International Virginia Woolf Society

The International Virginia Woolf Society is devoted to encouraging and facilitating the scholarly study of, critical attention to, and general interest in, the work and career of Virginia Woolf, and to facilitate ways in which all people interested in her writings— scholars, critics, teachers, students, artists and general readers—may learn from one another, meet together, contact each other, and help one another. Find out more about our organization, activities, and Virginia Woolf herself by following the links on our home page.

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