“Virginia” by Emmanuelle Favier: a novel to read absolutely!

One of the highlights of the literary season is signed by Emmanuelle Favier and traces the youth of the immense feminist writer Virginia Woolf. Above all, don’t miss it!

In 2017, so far illustrated by her short stories and poems, Emmanuelle Favier made a determined entry into the French novel with The Courage It Takes Rivers. This beautiful tale took us to an indefinite place and time – as much as the genre of its main characters, who had chosen to see existence beyond the prism of their femininity. Femininity is necessarily what it is question when we talk about Virginia Woolf, who, as the name of this second novel indicates, is placed at the center of this new story. It began in 1875, meeting the parents of the English writer, Leslie and Julia Stephen, and ended in 1904, on the eve of her official literary debut. We find out who was Virginia Woolf child, then adolescent, then young woman, what built it. Besides being remarkably well written, it’s exciting – something to sulk if Virginia won no literary awards!

The childhood of feminism
Indeed, it is precious to follow the learning of a heroine not only from literature, but also from the struggle for gender equality. “”I believe that if feminist thinking keeps coming back to A room of your own, or, less known but just as important, on his other try Three Guineas, explains Emmanuelle Favier, it is because these texts summarize the main part of the fight to be fought and that this fight did not succeed. If we confine ourselves to the field of publishing, there would certainly be today as many women as men who publish books, but their recognition is still far from equal. Above all, the legitimacy of writing is to be conquered for many women, and first of all vis-√†-vis themselves. I myself am far from having finished with this feeling of illegitimacy! Writing this book has helped me a lot.. “Little surprising if the reader, for her part, feels invigorated by turning the last page. Talent can not be learned, it is already there and is being shaped, and the genre has nothing to do with it.

Emancipating himself from the real facts, Emmanuelle Favier writes this a subjective and necessarily romantic biography: “I circulated between a manic respect for what I found in letters, newspapers and testimonies, a subjective apprehension of what arose from novels and an attempt to identify by empathy with this little girl who is growing up and who is be called Virginia Stephen, but whose interiority must be able to resonate with each and everyone. ” Because Virginia Woolf, it’s all of us. A woman who “showed the way “, as explained Emmanuelle Favier : “She is a mythical figure in literature, but above all she is a model for writers, a “big sister”. She is one of the first women to publish directly under her name and not under a man’s name, and to become famous during her lifetime. For me, who is embarking on my journey as a novelist, slipping in the footsteps of the little girl that Virginia was was a way of growing up with her, of becoming a writer by telling the story of how she herself becomes one. She thus accompanied me towards my freedom, while I was trying to understand how she knew how to conquer hers. “

Virginia, still as modern
Yes Virginia is therefore designated as a novel, there is no shortage of truthful details, the context is precise. Very quickly, Emmanuelle Favier recalls at the end of each chapter, with her nimble pen, important events that occurred that year. In 1893, Guy de Maupassant died or the right to vote was given for the first time in New Zealand. In 1900, the arrival ofIsadora Duncan in Paris, the birth of Zelda Fitzgerald or Colette’s first publication. A scansion in the form of a poetic and informative gimmick‚Ķ ” I wanted to put my story and my characters in their historical and cultural context, explains Emmanuelle Favier. Firstly because my narrative choice imposed it – this “” us “who is we, readers observing this story a century later. But also to highlight the exceptional character of the emergence of a literary personality such as Virginia Woolf, which we too often forget to mention when talking about the major writers of this period. She contributed to the literary revolution of the beginning of the 20th century in the same way as James Joyce, of whom she was the exact contemporary, or that Marcel Proust who was born only ten years before her. “Once again, if we want to write the great History of women, we must tell them. Give Cleopatra what is Cleopatra. Remember that Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first rocker. Marie Curie was a great scientist, just like her husband Pierre. Etc.

By evoking the toxicity of what she called “the angel of the hearth “, saying that creativity had no gender, Virginia Woolf remains an icon that speaks to all of us. According to Emmanuelle Favier, it is “a voice that speaks directly to and empowers women, in the full sense of the word. But there is still a long way to go … “But with novels like Virginia, it seems easier.

Emmanuelle Favier, Virginia, Albin Michel. Released August 22.

Sophie Rosemont

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