Chapter

A City in the Archives

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Abstract

This chapter analyzes Woolf's “ongoing examination and disruption of social hierarchies” as revealed in her observation of London statues. It focuses on two books from the personal library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf: London Revisited (1916) by E. V. Lucas and The People's Album of London Statues (1928), a collaborative effort between writer Osbert Sitwell artist Nina Hamnett. These books on London statues helped create cultural and biographical contexts for references in Virginia's writing. Against a background of reading about statues, observing them herself, and discussing aesthetic controversies with others, she devised sculptural metaphors for her characters, filtered statues through their rapidly shifting thoughts and feelings, and, in the process, explored leveling, hierarchy-disrupting complexities of the human condition.

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