My last post prompted a reminder of a book by Susan David Bernstein: ‘Roomscape: Women Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf’ (Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
Heterotopia is used as one of various theoretical perspective for exploring, in the words of the publisher:
“a specific site – the Reading Room of the British Museum – as a space of imaginative potential in relation to the emergence of modern women writers in Victorian and early twentieth-century London. Drawing on archival materials, Roomscape is the first study to integrate documentary, historical, and literary sources to examine the significance of this space and its resources for women who wrote translations, poetry, and fiction. This book challenges an assessment of the Reading Room of the British Museum as a bastion of class and gender privilege, an image established by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Roomscape also questions the value of privacy and autonomy in constructions of female authorship. Rather than viewing reading and writing as solitary, Roomscape investigates the public, social, and spatial dimensions of literary production.
29 May 2015