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The 1950s and 1960s: philosophy, psychology, myth There was considerable critical interest in Woolf 's life and work in this period, fuelled by the publication of selected extracts from her diaries, in A Writer's Diary (1953), and in part by J. K. Johnstone's The Bloomsbury Group (1954). The main critical impetus was to establish a sense of a unifying aesthetic mode in Woolf 's writing, and in her works as a whole, whether through philosophy, psychoanalysis, formal aesthetics, or mythopoeisis. James Hafley identified a cosmic philosophy in his detailed analysis of her fiction, The Glass Roof: Virginia Woolf as Novelist (1954), and offered a complex account of her symbolism. Woolf featured in the influential The English Novel: A Short Critical History (1954) by Walter Allen who, with antique chauvinism, describes the Woolfian 'moment' in terms of 'short, sharp female gasps of ecstasy, an impression intensified by Mrs Woolf 's use of the semi-colon where the comma is ordinarily enough'. Psychological and Freudian interpretations were also emerging at this time, such as Joseph Blotner's 1956 study of mythic patterns in To the Lighthouse, an essay that draws on Freud, Jung and the myth of Persephone.4 And there were studies of Bergsonian writing that made much of Woolf, such as Shiv Kumar's Bergson and the Stream of Consciousness Novel (1962). The most important work of this period was by the French critic Jean Guiguet. His Virginia Woolf and Her Works (1962); translated by Jean Stewart, 1965) was the first full-length study ofWoolf 's oeuvre, and it stood for a long time as the standard work of critical reference in Woolf studies. Guiguet draws on the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre to put forward a philosophical reading of Woolf; and he also introduces a psychobiographical dimension in the non-self.' This existentialist approach did not foreground Woolf 's feminism, either. his heavy use of extracts from A Writer's Diary. He lays great emphasis on subjectivism in Woolf 's writing, and draws attention to her interest in the subjective experience of 'the moment.' Despite his philosophical apparatus, Guiguet refuses to categorise Woolf in terms of any one school, and insists that Woolf has indeed 'no pretensions to abstract thought: her domain is life, not ideology'. Her avoidance of conventional character makes Woolf for him a 'purely psychological' writer.5 Guiguet set a trend against materialist and historicist readings ofWoolf by his insistence on the primacy of the subjective and the psychological: 'To exist, for Virginia Woolf, meant experiencing that dizziness on the ridge between two abysses of the unknown, the self and

Jane Goldman
I have just finished reading 'The Planner' by Tom Campbell. Its about James, a thoroughly decent but naive young city planner working for the London borough of Southwick. James, 32, has worked his way up the Southwick bureaucracy by dint of hard work, devotion to duty, and professional judgement. He has been responsible for a significant multi-purpose development and is an expert in how to survive lengthy meetings and local government practice. He has an intimate planning knowledge of London, its administrative districts, its zones and zoning regulations, its poverty rates, its demographic characteristics etc. But he knows almost nothing about the lifestyles of people who live there. The book opens on a scene where James has a get together with a few of his old friends from university. One has become a rich lawyer, one has become an even richer banker and his ex-girlfriend has become a well-known media celebrity. His friends all seem to be living glamorous and successful lives. They confront him with how dull he is; how little he has made of himself since he left university. He is filled with dissatisfaction with himself and the safe but dull life he leads. He decides he needs to brighten his life up a bit and start living a life more like that of his friends. Meanwhile, he is offered a position of Assistant Director of Planning for Nottingham (probably the UK of Hamilton, Palmy or New Plymouth) and he has 3 months to decide. He has to choose between a promotion to a safe but dull job in Nottingham, or a more glamorous life in London. He meets Felix, an advertising planner - one who designs advertising campaigns. Felix cares little about the buildings and connections of physical London, but is deeply knowledgeable about London society. He introduces James to a totally different London: London where the drug dealers live, London of high society, London of the rich and famous. He sets out to learn what he can about these aspects of London, hoping to earn the respect of his glamorous friends. In due course he begins to mix with developers whose aims are completely the opposite of his precious plan for Southwick The book is a wonderful depiction of the contrasts between city as built environment and city as lived environment. It raises questions about the value of public sector planning versus private sector development. It is also a delightful sketch of the temptations for a young planner to stray from the worthy objectives of public sector planning to private sector development; will James be lured away from his job as a local authority planner sincerely concerned about social issues such as public housing and street design, or will he be seduced by Felix and the glamorous world of the developers? Here's a lovely quote about a rumination of James as he crosses the wide open spaces of Canary Wharf, a part of London that was sold off by the state to private development: 'All of the people that James could see made a significant contribution to the wealth of the nation while making the world a worse place to live in. They worked in business services, and spent their lives helping international corporations to pay less tax, acquire commercial rivals, exploit monopoly positions, evade environmental regulations and skirt legal responsibilities. They were central to the functioning of the modern economy. Twenty thousand other people travelled in every day to make them coffee, serve them lunch and guard the buildings. It was, everyone had agreed, a tremendous success.' It is well worth a read.

Tom Campbell
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