By Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois
DUBOIS – A new book written by literary scholars, for literary scholars, was edited by
Penn State DuBois’ own Assistant Professor of English Elizabeth Evans. Woolf and the City (Clemson University Press) is a compilation of papers written by professors, students and graduate students from around the globe, with each examining the work of famed early 20th century writer Virginia Woolf.
The papers included in the book were all submitted to the Nineteenth Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, held at Fordham University in New York City. Each year, the conference is dedicated to exploring a different theme in Woolf’s writing, and the nineteenth conference dealt with her perception of city space, and its influence on her work.
“The purpose was to reexamine urban space,” said Evans. “She was writing at a time when London and New York were exploding in population. Moving about the city, for many in that time, provided inspiration, and she was no exception. So, there has been an interest in Woolf and the city space for some time.”
More than 200 papers were submitted for the conference, and for inclusion in the book. Evans had the task of reading each one carefully, and providing her editorial expertise to assure proper style, content and grammar were used, and that information was accurate. Also, she had to whittle down the submissions to just a few. She confessed, “There were so many fabulous submissions. The hardest part was turning down some wonderful work.”
The book also includes information on teaching about Woolf and her work in the classroom, which Evans does at Penn State DuBois.
“It works on different levels. One is about understanding Woolf as a masterful writer, and learning from her,” Evans explained. “Also, understanding her helps us to better understand her time and place in history. We can see Shakespeare through her eyes, the city space of her time through her eyes.”
Evans received her doctorate in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught a range of composition and literature courses both at UW-Madison and at Wake Forest University. Her research and teaching interests include 19th and 20th century British literature, women’s and gender studies; cultural geography and spatial theory; and postcolonial literature and theory.