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EN 413: Virginia Woolf and Modernism

Virginia Woolf and Modernism


Street Poster featuring the painting A Street At Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw

A Street at Night, John Atkinson Grimshaw

See also the VIRGINIA WOOLF Author Guide
















A portrait of Woolf by Roger Fry c. 1917 (Source: Wikicommons)


Catalogs to Search

OneSearch allows searching the catalog plus all databases at once

Search the catalogs of Colby, Bates and Bowdoin with CBBcat

How To : Requesting Books Through CBBcat

Extend your search to libraries worldwide with WorldCat

Karen Gillum
Humanities Librarian

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Email me for appointments or with any questions, problems:

Conduct targeted searches in individual databases for newspaper, magazine & journal articles:

Browse or search within particular periodicals you know are especially relevant:

Remember to make use of a suite of reference sources for background and incidental facts:

For Images, search Artstor or Bridgeman Education

Remember to use subject headings in CBBcat - and WorldCat, too 

Getting Started

Think Strategically about Your Research

  • Looking up background information first can save you time later - use Credo Reference,  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography or Virginia Woolf A to Z in print
  • Use terminology and facts learned from the background information to search for articles in MLA International Bibliography  and other databases at left
  • Search for books in any of the catalogs Colby has access to, expanding your search with subject linking
  • Investigate the notes and bibliographies of every good source you find for leads to more
  • Think about what sorts of publications the information you need might be published in 

What sorts of questions could you use Reference sources to answer?

How can you identify a scholarly journal article?   

              Where would you look for primary sources?              


Tips for Using MLA International Bibliography

1. Take advantage of folders and the ability to export citations in MLA format.

2. Set search limits before you begin searching so that ALL your results are from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals or books.

3. Use the "Names as Subjects" function to isolate a set of articles about the author you are working on; then refine your search by adding Subject Terms.

4. NEVER GIVE UP! Almost every article will be available to you either online, in print, or through Interlibrary Loan.


Example of MLA Style on a Works Cited page for an article retrieved from a database:

 Stuart, Christopher. "William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow and the Autobiographical Impulse." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 47, no. 3, 2006, pp. 261-73. MLA International Bibliography. 17 January 2013.

Thus the pattern is:

              Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, year, pp. #s . Name of database. [doi if available]. Accessed [day month year].

More Examples and explanations at Purdue's OWL site:

"Why cite?"

Citations show the research path someone took to develop an idea, and they provide leads for other researchers to discover information in related resources.

"When to cite?"

You need to cite when you directly quote someone else, and it's also important to cite when you refer to another person's ideas or when you outline someone else's argument or line of reasoning.


Popular Press - Research Example

In CBBcat use Keywords such as "popular magazines", Britain, interwar, propaganda to find -


The Popular Magazine in Britain and the United States, 1880-1960 / David Reed  In this study, David Reed analyses the rise of the popular magazine in the context of social, cultural, technological and economic changes of the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Lavishly illustrated throughout, his discussion focuses both on the design and content of magazines, and on their marketing and distribution, paying particular attention to developments in print technology, and analysing the impact of both social and commercial trends in publishing.

The Age of the Storytellers : British Popular Fiction Magazines, 1880-1950 / Mike Ashley  The years from 1880 to 1950 were the golden age of storytelling. It was an age that coincided with the glory of the popular monthly illustrated magazine, typified by The Strand, which set the standard for popular fiction with the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Rivals and imitators such as Pearson's Magazine, The Windsor, The Royal, Pall Mail, The Idler and many more soon followed. This reference guide considers these magazines in detail, providing coverage of 144 titles, charting their contribution to and influence upon popular literature.  ~ I tried looking these titles up in CBBcat, and indeed we have access to many of them, but not beyond WWI. The book itself might be useful, however.

Entertainment, Propaganda, Education : Regional Theatre in Germany and Britain between 1918 and 1945 / Anselm Heinrich   A comparison of regional theater in England and Germany during World War II, this study finds that the British government actively encouraged local theater companies to produce patriotic fare—partly because they thought the Nazis were doing the same thing


Use OneSearch to find -

"Educating and Mobilizing the New Voter: Interwar Handbooks and Female Citizenship in Great-Britain, 1918-1931"  Molinari, Veronique. Journal of International Women's Studies15.1 (2014): 17-34


The Historical Journal, 12/2014, Volume 57, Issue 4
Notice that these two articles both come from the database, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, so try searching within that database for more focused results.
For articles in British newspapers, search The Times or the Illustrated London News for, e.g., "Bishop of Birmingham"  AND pacifist; then narrow the date range to the 1930s to find the article from 2/6/1937 on the Church of England assembly in which the Church's position on preparations for another European war.  
For images, search Bridgeman Education for terms such as Britain and posters or Britain and propaganda 


                                                                                      The Sleeping Hermaphrodite in the Louvre


Reference Sources

CREDO - a search for androgyn* yields a very substantial article from the reference work, Homosexuality and Science: A Guide to the Debates. Various aspects of culture in the first half of the 20th century are covered; somewhat more attention is given to the US than to Europe.


Secondary Sources


The modern androgyne imagination : a failed sublime / Lisa Rado  -- at Bates and Bowdoin. One of the subject lines in this book's record is for Woolf criticism, and the publisher's summary of the book reads in part: In the late nineteenth century, as changing cultural representations of gender roles and categories made differences between men and women increasingly difficult to define, theorists such as Havelock Ellis, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, and Sigmund Freud began to postulate a third, androgynous sex. For many modern artists, this challenge to familiar hierarchies of gender represented a crisis....  James Joyce, H. D., William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, and other modernist writers of both sexes became attracted to a culturally specific notion of an androgynous imagination.

Androgyny in modern literature / Tracy Hargreaves   Miller has a copy of this. From publisher's summary: ... engages with the ways in which the trope of androgyny has shifted during the late nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. Alchemical, platonic, sexological, psychological and decadent representations of androgyny have provided writers with an icon which has been appropriated in diverse ways. This ... study traces different revisions of the psycho-sexual, embodied, cultural and feminist fantasies and repudiations of this unstable but enduring trope across a broad range of writers from the fin de siecle to the present.

Subject heading for catalogs: Androgyny (Psychology) in literature


MLA - search for, e.g., Virginia Woolf as a Subject + androgyny  or  modernis* + androgyny


Primary Sources

19th Century British Library Newspapers

Illustrated London News Archive

Times Digital Archive

and other periodical archives listed at left

Look in these sources for terms related to androgyny, for reviews of Orlando. Check Woolf's diaries and letters; how would you look for consideration of this concept in Freud's writings?


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