Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown by Virginia Woolf

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by Virginia Woolf

Essay Literary Criticism Characterization Modern Fiction Reality vs. Art

40 minutes

Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown is an essay written by Virginia Woolf and originally published in 1924. It is of considerable importance in Woolf's work and in twentieth-century literature in general.

The essay is a response to a review Arnold Bennett had made of Virgina Woolf's A Jacbo's room. In it, Woolf refutes Bennet's argument that she was writing about characters that would not stand the test of time and that character is the essence of writing a novel.

Woolf discusses modernity and expounds that there has been quite a change in society and in human character from the year 1910 onwards. British society has changed and with it what they mean by a "real" character. Mrs. Brown represents precisely human natureliness as a metaphor.

Through analysis, Woolf reflects the problems of previous generations of writers who also failed to create characters that survived the passage of time.

"It seems to me possible, perhaps desirable, that I may be the only person in this room who has committed the folly of writing, trying to write, or failing to write, a novel. And when I asked myself, as your invitation to speak to you about modern fiction made me ask myself, what demon whispered in my ear and urged me to my doom, a little figure rose before me-the figure of a man, or of a woman, who said, "My name is Brown. Catch me if you can."


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Students of English Literature Fans of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group Readers interested in the evolution of novel-writing

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About Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was an English writer and is considered one of the most important modernist 20th century authors and also a pioneer in the use of strea...

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