Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Mew: An Exploration of Madness in Modernist Writing

Open Access
Author:
Fierro, Corinne
Area of Honors:
English
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christopher Gervais Reed, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Charlotte Mew
  • modernism
  • madness
Abstract:
Madness in its various definitions has played a role in defining the identity of an artist. The role of madness has been especially crucial in defining the identity of women artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as they used the madness associated with combating their gender roles to forge modernist prose and poetry. For Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Mew, though, this madness was more than a professional tool. It was a visceral struggle that they experienced and witnessed. This project examines how Woolf and Mew explored madness in their writings, and how their mad characters compel readers’ sympathy for both these characters and the mad in general.