CBR11Bingo – History Schmistory
This is a wonderful and strange novel in which a biography is tracing the history of a young courtier in Elizabethan England who both makes his way into the future (present in the book) though time, and also becomes a woman in her 30s by the end.
I don’t know if I have a lot more to add to the conversations surrounding this book in terms of adding useful discourse. I am no Virginia Woolf scholar or have spent enough time thinking about it, reading it carefully, or really considering a lot about it. What occurs to me about this book in general is a very happy appreciation that this book exists. It’s a pretty wonderful and surprising book to read and to place within the context of the books coming out in 1928. It’s not that strange books that upend notions about fiction are not abound in 1928 as Ulysses has already been published and Faulkner, Nabokov, and others like them are right on the horizon to continue to upend things. But there’s a real magical quality about the level of play happening in this book. So it takes a very interesting, but potentially stodgy subject, and plenty of other Virginia Woolf novels are stodgy on their own, and creates a sandbox for the narrator to play in. It reminds me of much more recent fiction like Toni Morrison’s Jazz especially, but also a lot books by writers like Ali Smith and Jeanette Winterson. So something between that playful quality, the literary invention, and the audacity and confidence to both write about publish this novel are really admirable.