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‘A Society’: An Aristophanic Comedy by Virginia Woolf

Journal: Athens Journal of Philology (Vol.1, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 99-110

Keywords : ;

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‘A Society’, by Virginia Woolf, was published in 1921. By this time the writer had notoriously proved not only her well-known opposition to the recent Great War but also her outspoken criticism against the inferiority of women writers and artists. She was also well acquainted with both the ancient Greek language and literature, and she continually referred to them in her private diaries and letters, as well as in her novels, short-stories and essays. As a matter of fact, she had already had a review printed on a pro-suffrage adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (1910) and had read and discussed the translation that her friend Roger Fry had prepared in 1918. The content of this paper argues that ‘A Society’ deploys the mechanisms and plots of famous Aristophanean comedies, such as Lysistrata and Women of the Assembly, in order to enhance its own utopian and critical message. Taking the genre of ancient comedy as a foil, the development of the story, from the comic idea to the various references to historical, as much as personal, events acquires an enriched dimension that illustrates the writer’s learned and refined art of allusion. All in all, it is a witty and hilarious example of Virginia Woolf’s original and creative art of reception of the Greek classical tradition.

Last modified: 2015-07-01 19:37:33