Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Three Guineas

City Journal has long published much of the excellent Theodore Dalrymple, and reprints older essays of his from time to time. This month they include "The Rage of Virginia Woolf," a review of her book Three Guineas. 

The book, therefore, is truly a seminal text. In Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf lets us know without disguise what she really thinks: and what she thinks is by turns grandiose and trivial, resentful and fatuous. The book might be better titled: How to Be Privileged and Yet Feel Extremely Aggrieved.

I admit I know only a superficial amount about Woolf.  Reading this, I wonder if she had Borderline Personality Disorder. Such women, because they give full-throated voice to their resentments, especially against men and the powerful in society, are often valorised by other women who wish to express resentment. Even if their complaints are entirely different or even in contradiction to the woman with BPD, they admire the rage itself, often declaring that women have not been allowed such things in the past, and the modern freedom to do so is refreshing. Hm. Well.  I'm not sure many men were allowed to express rage that freely either, and at least in England, there are some striking recorded expressions of female rage in the legal records. There was likely some difference, but let's not overdo things here.


james said...

Given her skills at observation, I agree that she wouldn't know which end of the cradle to stir.

Grim said...

"One might think that to descend from the aesthetic to the ideological plane would be distasteful for a woman of such languorous, highly strung, thoroughbred equine beauty as she...."

Oh, my.