Derek Ryan’s Virginia Woolf and the Materiality of Theory is an exploration of “Woolf’s writing
alongside Deleuze’s philosophy and new materialist theories of ‘sex’, ‘animal’ and ‘life’.” What
might at first glance sound like yet another exegetical effort to elucidate new meanings in
Woolf’s writing—this time using new materialist approaches—is in fact a claim towards an
understanding of Woolf’s literary practice as itself a form of theorizing. In Ryan’s intriguing
study, Woolf emerges as a precursor of, and inspiration for, contemporary philosophical and
critical approaches that privilege matter and material relations as productive venues for
“nonanthropocentric conceptualizations” of the world (9).
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