Virginia Woolf's Pedagogical Art

William R Bowden, University of Rhode Island


Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) wrote novels and essays with a sense of urgency. During the interwar years 1918-39, Woolf was interested in how public institutions could contribute to the war. One institution that she believed contributed rather than prevented England’s involvement in the war was the elite education system, which guaranteed young men of the “educated class” learning opportunities and economic advantages. ^ Though Woolf was herself a member of the “educated class” as a woman she did not have the same rights to an education as her “brothers.” Woolf critiqued both the institution as a place dedicated to the education of privileged men, separating outsiders on the basis of gender and class, and the coercive lecturing model used to persuade young men to believe that war was a viable option. Through her work, Woolf imagined an alternative pedagogy where men and women could learn collectively. One line of thought, or theory, would not be privileged over another.^ It is this discussion over the private and public life of English individuals throughout the interwar years that led me to consider Virginia Woolf’s work in the context of education. I created a model for contemporary reader/educators who can use the practices outlined in Woolf’s work as a framework for developing their own transformative pedagogy.^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

William R Bowden, "Virginia Woolf's Pedagogical Art" (2017). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10270277.