Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Pointz Hall

Pointz Hall. Ancestral home of the Olivers in southern England. As the house bears a weight of historical symbolism, it needs to be seen clearly. It is middle-sized, as English manor houses go, whitish, attractive to passersby, but oddly situated, facing north, away from the sun, and standing low in its meadow so that it suffers in winter. In that way, it is atypical, not quite fully English. Its furniture is mid-Victorian, and thus out of date—contrasting with the furnishings and modern bathrooms that the newly rich coming down from London, such as the Manresas, have put into the old houses they have bought.

Pointz Hall has a principal staircase, but the other staircase is not much more than a ladder at the back of the house, intended for the servants and therefore making a statement about the English class system. On the bottom floor of the hall is a main room, looking out to the garden, where guests are entertained. There is also a library containing histories of England and the world, histories of the local world, and volumes of English poetry. However, there are also pulp novels that houseguests have left. Thus, the past and the present (seemingly a decline) are put side by side. Also downstairs are the kitchen and the larder. However, before the Reformation the larder had been a chapel, so that the house connects with the old religion, Roman Catholicism, and once more shows the passage of time. Upstairs are bedrooms and a nursery. Here is Lucy Swithin’s room, where she is reading an outline of history that tells her that England had been, millions of...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Gordon, Lyndall. Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984. An analytical biography that integrates events in Woolf’s life with a thematic study of her works.

Hanson, Clare. Virginia Woolf. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. A sophisticated study of gender in Woolf’s novels with specific attention to Woolf’s feminism and its consequences for her works. An unusual reading of Between the Acts focuses on gender tensions in the novel.

Rose, Phyllis. Woman of Letters: A Life of Virginia Woolf. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. A critical biography of the writer’s life and works. Includes extended discussions of all her works.

Rosenman, Ellen Bayuk. The Invisible Presence. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986. Informed by psychological theory, this study examines the bonds between mothers and daughters in Woolf’s novels and her representations of the female artist. Includes a detailed chapter on Miss La Trobe in Between the Acts.

Rosenthal, Michael. Virginia Woolf. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979. Focuses on Woolf’s preoccupation with form. Includes an excellent chapter on Between the Acts.