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Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman
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Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In 1935, while Virginia Woolf was alive and building her career as a woman writer, Ruth Gruber published a seminal essay on the novelist that is now seen as the first feminist interpretation of Woolf's writings and life. Seventy years after its original publication, Gruber's seminal critique is available once again, with new material that makes it more relevant for readers ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Basic Books (first published April 10th 2005)
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Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, by Ruth Gruber is is a reprint of Gruber's 1931 (published in 1935) doctoral dissertation with an extremely interesting introduction. Gruber was born in 1911 in Brooklyn, New York. She entered New York University at fifteen and earned a post graduate fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She won a second fellowship to the University of Cologne, Germany. She earned her PhD in 1931 and was, at the time, the youngest person to earn a PhD. ...more
Not only does it uncannily anticipate many of the themes and ideas that became preoccupations in feminist analysis upon Woolf's "rediscovery" many decades later, it is a very accessible and readable analysis of Woolf's major texts up to that time (The Years and Between the Acts had yet to be written). Ruth Gruber's own account of writing this dissertation and meeting Woolf herself as a young American Jewish woman studying in Germany in the 1930's is a fascinating read in and of itself.

And remark
Disclaimer: I got an ARC via Netgalley.

At the end of her study on Virginia Woolf, Ruth Gruber writes,

The woman of the past found an intimation of the laws of nature, of life and immortality, in bearing children; the woman of the future, retaining this experience, will give it words and form. Virginia Woolf, of the present, is still a seeker, struggling to prepare the world for a woman Shakespeare, a woman Rembrandt, even a woman Christ. She is the transitional link between the past which produce
Kris - My Novelesque Life


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).

Ruth Gruber the youngest PhD student to receive her degree takes a look at Virginia Woolf and her analyzes her writing. The first part of the book is the Introduction written by the author. She explains why she wrote this book, on meeting the author she writes about, corresponding with her and Gruber's own academia history. There are also copies of the original letters she discusses in the book. The next part of t
Allison Hiltz
From The Book Wheel:

Note: I requested this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve never heard of Ruth Gruber before, but now that I have I am going to be seeking out other works by her. She was the youngest person ever to get her PhD and the first journalist in the Soviet Arctic (click here to read about how great she is). Plus, her style of writing flows so easily that I was rode along beside her throughout this fairly short book. The first quarter of the book is Gruber’s syn
After having written about the first part of Ruth Gruber's Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, I forgot all about writing on the second part of the book. The first part, as you may recall, is memoir about how Gruber came to be the youngest person to receive a Ph.D, wrote her dissertation on Woolf, and actually got to meet her. The second part of the book is the dissertation Gruber wrote.

Written in 1932, the dissertation examines Woolf's work up to and including The Waves. Gruber's th
Ruth Gruber’s doctoral dissertation in 1932 was the first feminist criticism of Virginia Woolf’s work. The unprecedented study led Gruber to eventually meet and correspond with Woolf (jealous!), which Gruber recounts here.
Having read Mrs.Dalloway by Woolf and then 'The Hours' by Cunningham, for me Ruth Gruber's work was almost like completing a trilogy.

Woolf has many roles in the eyes of the reader - she is a creator, she is a critic, she is revolutionary and she is a woman of substance. Woolf used her femininity as her strength instead of feeling the 'anxiety of influence' of her predecessors, the literary giants of the past.

Gruber wrote about Woolf from a critical perspective which useful for me to understand
Just read the preface and couldn't do it. But the preface will make you laugh if you don't know who Ruth Gruber is. I didn't, and the preface read like she is infinitely more famous, amazing, fantastic and bold than Virginia Woolf. Hey man, maybe she is.
Elena Davis
eclectic and accomplished author-
commenting on many of the issues
of her time-the introduction was
great view of early 20th century-
her dissertation -pretty esoteric
and dense
I liked this, but it was sort of a hodge-podge of a memoir and a more theoretical thesis about Virginia Woolf, so I didn't love it. It was interesting, but it didn't stick with me much.
Chris Wolak
Will come back to this in the future, I'm sure, when I read more Woolf. For now I was more interested in Gruber's life than in what she had to say about Woolf.
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Ruth Gruber is an award-winning Jewish American journalist, photographer, and humanitarian. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, she became the youngest PhD in the world and went on to author nineteen books, including the National Jewish Book Award–winning biography Raquela (1978). She also wrote several memoirs documenting her astonishing experiences, among them Ahead of Time (1991), Inside of Time (2002), ...more
More about Ruth Gruber...
Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America Raquela Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent Witness: One of the Great Correspondents of the Twentieth Century Tells Her Story Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched a Nation

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