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Had there been an axe handy: transatlantic modernism, Virginia Woolf and Jean Toomer

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This article looks at transatlantic modernist intertextuality and identifies African American influences and voices in the writing of Virginia Woolf. While comparisons between Woolf and the Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer have occasionally been made in transatlantic studies of the matrix of modernism, little attention has been paid to the possibility of more direct or precise connections and intertexts. This essay offers a reading of a precise intertext between Woolf and Toomer and suggests further citations by Woolf of African American writing.

Keywords: African American modernism; Cane; Equiano; Harlem Renaissance; Jean Toomer; The Years; To the Lighthouse; Virginia Woolf; feminism; gender; intertexuality; race; slave narrative

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Glasgow.

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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