Jade Munslow Ong, ‘“Too uncompromising a figure to be so disposed of”: Virginia Woolf and/on Olive Schreiner’, English Studies in Africa, 65 (2022), forthcoming.
In her 1925 review of an edited collection of Olive Schreiner’s letters, Virginia Woolf described Schreiner as ‘too uncompromising a figure to be so disposed of’. Prompted by this intriguing comment, this article brings Woolf’s late-1920s writings into conversation with Schreiner’s novels and letters in order to trace personal and textual connections between the two authors. Comparative analysis of Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm (1883) and Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928) reveals similarities and confluences in their novelistic structures, experimental temporalities, allegorical representations, use of natural imagery, and in the central and unifying linear motifs that are used to hold together the novel forms. Additional modernist aesthetic and political links are provided by depictions of sex- and gender-crossing characters in Orlando, The Story of an African Farm and Schreiner’s From Man to Man (1926), as well as by the feminist arguments and role of ‘Shakespeare’s sister’ in From Man to Man and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929). The article concludes by arguing that Woolf and/on Schreiner provides evidence towards a claim for South Africa as a pioneering site of modernist innovation, and thereby contributes to new understandings of the development of global modernisms.
In this snapshot article, I outline the background and context for the development of research-led teaching activities aimed at students pursuing the WJEC Eduqas GCE A-Level English Literature qualification. The aims of these activities are threefold: first, to assist students’ learning and preparation for the exam component ‘Unseen Prose’ (worth 10% of the overall qualification); second, to extend the impact of AHRC-funded research on South African literature to 16- to 18-year-old learners; and third, to mobilize the first two aims in support of decolonizing efforts in English Studies.
Rana Mitter and his guests Jade Munslow Ong, Devika Singh, María del Pilar Blanco and Christopher Harding put aside modernism’s Eurocentricism to look at pioneering modernist art, writing and architecture in India, South Africa, Japan and Latin America.