Imprisonment and Freedom: The Representation of Cities in Virginia Woolf’s Flush

Inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s life and her cocker spaniel Flush, Virginia Woolf’s fictional work Flush (1933) engages with the critical analysis of Victorian values through the eyes of a dog. In most of her novels, Woolf provides detailed descriptions of London with its gardens, buildings, family houses, work places and inhabitants, and she uses urban setting as a means to express her vision of women and their struggles in attaining independence in a patriarchal society. Moreover, in her works, London stands out as a character rather than merely a background setting. Flush is one of these works in which Woolf primarily concentrates on the depiction of London as a character in order to suggest her views about the status of women living in the metropolis. Throughout the text, Victorian London is attacked for its restrictive qualities and deeply-felt class distinction. Apart from London, two cities described in the novel are the Italian cities Pisa and Florence, which, with their liberating atmosphere, remove class distinction and encourage women to use their intellectual capacities. They serve as a foil to the domineering London. Flush’s respective experiences in London, Pisa and Florence point out the constraining human engagements and the ways for surmounting these obstacles. The aim of this paper is to analyze how these cities are used by Woolf to attack Victorian society and substitute it with a more liberating milieu.


Virginia Woolf, Flush, city as a literary character, woman

Author : Çiğdem ALP PAMUK
Number of pages: 1-9
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18033/ijla.3572
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International Journal of Language Academy
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