The Duchess and the Jeweller

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Social Concerns
As the daughter of two prototypically Eminent Victorians—Sir Leslie Stephen, the editor of The Dictionary of National Biography and Julia Stephen, a member of the prestigious Pre-Raphaelite circle—Virginia Woolf was raised in what Sandra Gilbert calls a "mausoleum of (a) late Victorian household" (No Man's Land, Vol. III, Letters from the Front, 1994), but the death of her father in 1904 when she was twenty-two dislodged her from the restrictions and expectations of some deeply entrenched social conventions. When she moved into the emerging world of artistic innovation and bohemian inclinations of "loomsbury" she began to fashion her own life as a journalist, essayist, novelist, and teacher, eventually marrying Leonard Woolf (who she described candidly but not critically as a "penniless Jew" in an irrevocable separation from the Hyde Park Gate home where she was..... Techniques

Her short fiction did not afford Woolf the large field for experiment and innovation that her novels did, but she usually took at least one important element of the singular style she was developing as a controlling facet. In "The Duchess and the Jeweller," it is her concentration on the nuances of the main character that is the predominant feature. As James Wood points out, one of her aims was "to unwrap consciousness." "Character to the Edwardians," he continues, "was everything that could be described. For Woolf, it was everything that could not be described" (The New Republic, Sept. 29, 1997, p. 35). Thus, her employment of a stream-of-conscious narrative permitted her to literally invade the mind of a character and because the mind operates in response to the immediate present and in terms of the..... Themes

In spite of the relative affluence of her family, Virginia Woolf was aware of the difficulties most British subjects faced in terms of earning a living. As a social activist committed to women's suffrage, as a lecturer at Morley College which drew many...
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