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).
Natália da Silva Perez
Barbara Franchi and Natália da Silva Perez
The f-word used to be inappropriate for polite company, but today nobody seems afraid to say it, loud and proud. Hollywood stars and world-famous pop singers can openly claim to be feminists; it is now acceptable for mainstream celebrities to emulate that which more radical independent feminist artists have been doing for the past few decades. This gradual mainstreaming of feminism, facilitated in part by easier and wider access to communication technology, is reflected all over mass media. The last couple of years have also seen a number of high-profile female celebrities engaging in feminist political action. When Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson are UN ambassadors in projects that aim to promote the emancipation of women worldwide, when pop singer Beyoncé openly declares that “we have a way to go [to achieve equality] and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept,” (Vena, 2013) their voices are heard by a wider audience, one that might not have been reached by the voices of activists and scholars who have for decades denounced the problems caused by gender discrimination.