Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership
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Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership

Edited by Peter Iver Kaufman and Kristin M.S. Bezio

Contributions to this book probe the contexts–both social and spiritual–from which select iconic figures emerge and discover how to present themselves as innovators and cultural leaders as well as draw material into forms that subsequent generations consider innovative or emblematic. The overall import of the book is to locate producers of culture such as authors, poets, singers, and artists as leaders both in their respective genres and of culture and society more broadly through the influence exerted by their works.
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Chapter 6: Family resemblances: religion around Virginia Woolf

Stephanie Paulsell


Chapter 6 discusses the profound influences of sectarian religion on the writing and thoughts of Virginia Woolf, an icon of early feminist literature. In part, this religious background left Woolf with a deep anxiety about the relationship between pleasure and shame. Yet despite Woolf’s indebtedness to the religions of both her grandfather and her aunt, Woolf, like her parents, was deeply agnostic, a belief which led her to question cultural and social conventions. However, Paulsell also suggests that for both Woolf and the evangelicals of her grandfather’s generation, identity and art were formed out of fragments, a mixture of “chaotic materials” combined to create new forms and ideas which could reshape society.

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