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Virginia Woolf and Being-in-the-world

A Heideggerian Study

Emma Simone


Explores Woolf’s treatment of the relationship between self and world from an existential-phenomenological perspective

Breaking fresh ground in Woolfian scholarship, this study presents a timely and compelling interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s textual treatment of the relationship between self and world from the perspective of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Drawing on Woolf’s novels, essays, reviews, letters, diary entries, short stories, and memoirs, the book explores the political and the ontological, as the individual’s connection to the world comes to be defined by an involvement and engagement that is always already situated within a particular physical, societal, and historical context.

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1. Being-in-the-world
2. A Sense of Place
3. Being-at-home and Homelessness
4. Historical Dasein
5. Moments of Being and the Everyday
Conclusion: Confluences, Divergences, and Future Directions.

About the Author

Emma Simone completed her PhD on Virginia Woolf at Macquarie University in 2012 and is currently an independent scholar. Her research interests include the influence of ancient Greek literature and philosophy upon the writings of Woolf and Heidegger.


In this insightful, carefully researched and accessible study, Emma Simone provides the first sustained comparative analysis of Woolf’s and Heidegger’s accounts of Being-in-the-world. Effortlessly weaving together readings and examples from Woolf’s novels, essays and autobiographical writings, Virginia Woolf and Being-in-the-world not only comprises an important addition to scholarly assessments of Woolf’s philosophical thought, but demonstrates with great acuity the vital ways in which Woolf’s philosophy is fundamentally tied to her social and political concerns and commitments.

- Lorraine Sim, Western Sydney University

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