Great Poets Do Not Die: Maggie Gee's Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014) as Metaphor for Contemporary Biofiction

Date

2021-03

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Edinburgh University Press

Type

Book chapter

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This chapter takes as its subject Maggie Gee’s novel Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014), which imagines what might transpire if Woolf were to be resurrected in twenty-&rst-century New York. She is conjured by the &ctitious novelist Angela Lamb, who is visiting the Berg Collection in preparation for a keynote address at an international Woolf conference. As a contemporary novelist who recalls her subject to life, lends her clothing and helps her to sign her name, Angela is symbolic of the real-life novelists who recreated Woolf in their own image and reinterpreted her works in line with their respective versions. The chapter thus contends that Gee’s recent manifestation of Woolf-inspired bio&ction may be read successfully as an extended metaphor for the twenty-year-old subgenre. This originated with Sigrid Nunez (1998) and Michael Cunningham (1998), and extends to recent work by Priya Parmar (2014) and Norah Vincent (2015). The chapter &rst examines issues of content, focusing on Gee’s presentation of Woolf’s suicide and sexuality. The discussion is then expanded to think critically about Woolf-inspired bio&ction as a subgenre, particularly the ethical issues attendant on its invasion of the subject’s privacy.

Description

Keywords

Virginia Woolf, Maggie Gee, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, Biofiction

Citation

Layne, B. (2021) Great Poets Do Not Die: Maggie Gee's Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014) as Metaphor for Contemporary Biofiction. In: Dubino, J., Pajak, P., Hollis, C.W., Lypka, C., Neverow, V. (Eds.) The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and Contemporary Global Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp.399-411.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of English