Following on from the hope expressed in A Room of One’s Own that the seemingly fictional Mary Carmichael ‘will be a poet [...] in another hundred years’ time’, and taking the form of a series of personal encounters the work of one of the most innovative and distinctive voices in contemporary British fiction, this paper considers some of the implications of what it might mean to say that a late-twentieth/early-twenty-first-century writer is somehow or other ‘like’ Virginia Woolf. The question it seeks to unravel is not so much that of the familiar and well-trodden concept of ‘the influence of something upon somebody’, but rather it is the perhaps more abstract and tangled notion of how one writer can be both ‘like’ and ‘not like’ another at one and the same time. In a sense, it is an attempt to imagine the kind of novelist Virginia Woolf/Mary Carmichael would be if she were writing today. It is also a narrative about the writing of Ali Smith, told from a particularly Woolfian point of view.
|Title of host publication||Bloomsbury Influences|
|Subtitle of host publication||Papers from the Bloomsbury Adaptations Conference, Bath Spa University, 5-6 May 2011|
|Editors||E H Wright|
|Place of Publication||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Publisher||Cambridge Scholars Publishing|
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2014|
Blyth, I. (2014). What a lark! What a plunge! Woooooooo-hooooooo what a fall what a soar what a plummet what a dash: Virginia Woolf and Ali Smith. In E. H. Wright (Ed.), Bloomsbury Influences: Papers from the Bloomsbury Adaptations Conference, Bath Spa University, 5-6 May 2011 (pp. 46-55). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.