ISSUE 11.3 (WINTER 2015)


“Ashamed of the Inkpot”: Virginia Woolf, Lucy Clifford, and the Literary Marketplace

By Mary Jean Corbett, Miami University

The literary and artistic world is so ordered that those who enter it have an interest in disinterestedness.

—Pierre Bourdieu, “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed”

<1> Most critics working in the contested terrain of fin-de-siècle literary and cultural history would agree that Virginia Woolf’s essays, reviews, and first two novels diminished the achievements of both the male and female writers of that era. The version of literary history she knew—and, indeed, helped to construct—is far less varied, progressive, or inclusive than that constructed by scholars over the last several decades, in which the reaction against “Victorianism,” for instance, is seen to be already well under way at least a generation before the queen’s demise. Still, the motivating factors in this erasure have yet to be fully explored. It’s my belief that rethinking Woolf’s relationship to the immediate past in relation to new narratives about late-Victorian literary culture can lead us to new conclusions about where and how Woolf does or does not borrow from, resist, reframe, or reject the legacies of her precursors. As I’ve argued elsewhere, the active disavowal of what I call second-generation Victorian women writers, while certainly shaped in part by her familial context, is but one facet of Woolf’s broader and deeper drive to establish relations with an earlier, “greater” Victorian generation while bypassing an intermediate and, to her mind, imperfect one (Corbett). 

<2> To be sure, Woolf’s exclusions and omissions of women writers in particular may have been partially contingent on the masculinist bias of much fin-de-siècle literary history as written by some of those who lived it. Looking more closely at books by Elizabeth Robins Pennell and Richard Le Gallienne that Woolf read and reviewed in the first decades of the twentieth century, we can see that each represents the 1890s as primarily, though not exclusively, a male affair. Women writers make token appearances in each text. In the memoir Nights (1916), Pennell mentions Mary Robinson, Rosamund Marriott-Watson, and Violet Hunt, all in passing, while spending many pages on William Ernest Henley and his “Young Men” (129, 157, 158). Le Gallienne in The Romantic ‘90s (1925) recalls meeting “Michael Field” at George Meredith’s home (45), seeing Marriott-Watson and E. Nesbit at John Lane’s teas (165), and even going so far as to read Alice Meynell. But not one of these well-known, successful women writers gets the sustained attention that Pennell and Le Gallienne give to their male peers. And Woolf does not acknowledge or critique this bias in her reviews, as we might expect her to, which leads me to wonder if propagating a picture of the 1890s as undisturbed by actual writing women served Woolf’s purposes better than either wrestling with unruly foremothers or making public value judgments on their writing.

<3> A reading of Pierre Bourdieu’s essay “The Field of Cultural Production” might lead us to conclude just that. In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Woolf was herself still among “the newcomers” who, in Bourdieu’s terms, “must assert their difference, get it known and recognized, get themselves known and recognized (‘make a name for themselves’), by endeavouring to impose new modes of thought and expression, out of key with the prevailing modes of thought” (Field 58). Bourdieu considers this contest or struggle, which consists of what he calls “position-takings,” not as voluntarily chosen but as structurally inevitable: “Because position-takings arise quasi-mechanically—that is, almost independently of the agents’ consciousness and wills—from the relationship between positions, they take relatively invariant forms” (59); thus “[t]he history of the field arises from the struggle between the established figures and the young challengers” (60). I would submit that Woolf only came to appreciate this dynamic in later life, when she was herself no longer a “young challenger” but an “established figure,” her persistent assertions of outsiderness notwithstanding. That age-inflected point of view emerges in the unadorned candor of one of her final comments about the relations between generations in her unfinished literary-historical essay, “Anon”: “The modern writer attacks the actual work of some one of the generation that has just gone” (Essays 6, 590). And we might see it at work as well when the elderly Lucy Swithin of Between the Acts (1941) speculates that the Victorians are just us, “‘dressed differently’” (118). 

<4> Whether early or late in her career, the “struggle” or “contest” in which Woolf engages publicly, through her essays and reviews, almost always involves only men. Why is that? She offers one answer, in a cancelled passage from Women & Fiction, the draft version of A Room of One’s Own: she will name no women writers, for that would be “discourteous”; “one should keep one’s preferences among the living to oneself” (110). Bourdieu suggests another answer: “adversaries whom one would prefer to destroy by ignoring them cannot be combated without consecrating them” (42). Within that framework, Woolf enhances the status (most famously) of Wells, Bennett, and Galsworthy even as she takes them down, indeed because she takes them down. “Ignoring” those older female contemporaries, whom Molly Hite has dubbed “the maternal generation,” signifies an effort “to destroy” them “without consecrating them”: “By refusing to mention…female writers in her great canon-forming polemics,” Hite argues, “Woolf helped make them forgotten by much of twentieth-century literary history, or at best, regarded as minor” (523). Alternatively, Terry Lovell’s meditation on Bourdieu’s potential uses for feminist theory might suggest that we should count Woolf among those who embrace “forms of social and intellectual life which are not exclusively agonistic…not structured around hierarchy, male domination, cut-throat competition, [and] symbolic violence” (27). There are, of course, very good reasons to see Woolf in this light. But that she is one of the few women writers Bourdieu himself mentions—in his reading of To the Lighthouse in Masculine Domination (69-79)—also suggests that Woolf achieved ‘exceptional’ status by understanding and even enforcing the rules of a game that otherwise might well have excluded her.

<5> Over the past few years, I’ve come to think of the late-Victorian women writers I’ve been reading as Woolf’s “older contemporaries,” in that they lived at the same time, and often in the same place, and to speculate as to how they might have regarded her. I have wondered, for example, if Virginia Woolf and George Egerton ever passed each other on a Bloomsbury street, given that starting in 1931, Egerton lived at 59 Ridgmount Gardens, just off Gower Street and less than half a mile from 52 Tavistock Square (Egerton). We may never know definitively whether or not Woolf read Sarah Grand, but we do know that Grand read and admired both To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own (though she found it hard to believe that both books were written by the same person).(1) Talia Schaffer in particular has called our attention to the 27-year-old Virginia Stephen’s dismissive and mean-spirited comments on another older contemporary, Alice Meynell, arguing that Woolf “posit[ed] a wider chronological and cognitive space between herself and her predecessor than actually existed” (193). But, interestingly, Virginia Stephen was not the only one to report on their sole meeting: we have Meynell’s remarks on it as well, which explicitly place the not-yet-professionally-established Stephen sisters within a generational frame. “It was curious,” Meynell wrote home from Italy in 1909, “to meet the grand-daughters of [Mia] Jackson, Coventry Patmore’s first friend”—and Woolf’s maternal grandmother—“at the house of [Janet] Ross, the daughter of [George] Meredith’s first friend [Lucie, Lady Duff-Gordon], I being the latest one dear to both” Patmore and Meredith (qtd. in Badeni 198). Meynell’s own fetish for greatness is clearly on display here. Also of interest, it was only after her own brilliant successes in the 1920s that Woolf revisited her earlier judgments on Meynell, confiding to her diary “that one or two little poems will survive all that my father ever wrote” (Diary 3, 251).  By juxtaposing Woolf’s scarce public and more plentiful private comments about her older female contemporaries from different moments in her career, we can register both her tactics of disavowal, in their “relatively invariant forms,” and her subsequent re-valuation of at least some of the work of “the maternal generation.”

<6> In this essay, I explore the relations between Woolf and another woman writer of the older generation, Lucy Lane Clifford. In doing so, I want to offer a new take on the famous claim that “we think back through our mothers if we are women” (Room 75) by emphasizing at the outset that “thinking back” can take many different forms, not all of them so celebratory as that statement typically conveys. For example, Marysa Demoor aptly states that for Woolf and her age-mates, “the women writers of the older generation…were the personification of amateurism and mass culture, combined with an objectionable materialism” (“Not” 255). In thinking back through Lucy Clifford, both a relatively successful writer and a family friend, Woolfen countered and personified aspects of the literary marketplace that both attracted and repelled her. In the first two decades of her career, she used Clifford’s image and example to work through the uncertainty and ambivalence that marked her own contradictory relations to literary production at the turn of the century and beyond, just as in other contexts and to other ends she thought back through Elizabeth Robins, or Alice Meynell, or Vernon Lee, or (even) Mary Augusta Ward. To be sure, this is not a particularly pretty story, from where I stand, but it is, I think, an instructive and necessary one for feminist critics to tell, in that it is, in part, about generational relations between elders and youngers who may experience their shared time and place so differently as to feel estranged from, competitive with, or just plain tired of one another. Can we occupy those “relatively invariant positions” differently? Is it always necessary, I wonder, to “attack” the work of one who has gone before?


<7> At the very beginning of her career in 1905, Virginia Stephen first indirectly encountered readerships for fiction as a reviewer of recently published (and now “forgotten”) books. She thus also encountered a far more diverse and heterogeneous market than did “the great writers” of two generations before, but not so different than the one into which her immediate predecessors had entered. Women writers had already successfully populated—some said overpopulated—the diversified late-century market for literature, even if their fuller entry into literary production had met with considerable resistance.(2) Gender certainly formed one fault line among the “cliques and exclusive groupings” (31) of which Peter Keating writes, and of which Woolf read in reviewing literary histories of the fin de siècle, as she did throughout the 1910s and 20s. As Peter D. McDonald acknowledges in his survey of the literary field in the 1890s, the increasing prominence of women writers within literary culture generated hostility from male peers. Both contests between men and conflicts within the discourse of masculinity certainly matter here, too, so that the attacks of Henley’s coterie on Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James underline what McDonald calls “the importance of being virile” (35). Further, in terming Andrew Lang “an author-critic, idea man, and publishing asset” who “filter[ed] culture from the very center of a changing fin-de-siècle media environment,” Nathan K. Hensley has noted that “Lang’s version of this environment was masculine in the extreme” (9). On the other side of the gendered divide, Linda Hughes has shown that when women took a page from the men’s book in founding a women writers’ dining club in 1889, it “raised a virulent response from male authors in the Scots Observer under the editorship of W. E. Henley and in Punch” (Hughes, “Club” 233). As Margaret D. Stetz concludes, “the world of print…continued to resist the full integration of women” (125).

<8> As such examples make clear, entering into literary production on a professional footing also meant accessing available networks—some gender-specific, some not—and here Virginia Stephen made particular choices with particular effects. Woolf scholar Jane Lilienfeld remarks that “[a]s Sir Leslie Stephen’s daughter, [she] might have begun publishing through her father’s connections. Significantly, she did not” (39). She turned instead to women who had been her older half-sister Stella’s intimates. Violet Dickinson introduced her to Kathleen Lyttelton, an editor for the Guardian.(3) Kitty Maxse connected her to Nelly Cecil, with whom she alternated essays for a monthly column in the Cornhill.(4) Even the relationship with Bruce Richmond, editor of the TLS, dates from “before Bloomsbury”: she had known his wife, Elena Rathbone, during what Hermione Lee calls her “‘society’ years” (Virginia 154). Facilitated mainly by women—who were, importantly, “not professional writers” (Daugherty 30; emph. added)—these connections constituted less a complete break with the South Kensington world of her childhood than a means of mobilizing its resources to promote new ends.

<9> More than 15 years after Woolf began writing for publication as a book reviewer and literary journalist, she would evaluate the taste of one of those old friends in marketplace terms. Woolf recorded a talk about literature with Elena Richmond in her diary for February 1922: “She doesn’t like representation in fiction; can’t stand Wells & Bennett; attempts Dorothy Richardson; is puzzled; reverts to Scott; hasn’t heard of Joyce; comfortably waves aside indecency; I should guess that she represents the top layer of the Mudie general public very accurately” (Diary 2, 161).(5) Although she crossed out the mention of “Mudie,” we should note that in the effort to sum up Richmond’s position, Woolf places her within a particular market segment of readers. Richmond’s literary “tastes” are hardly those “of a school-boy” (Letters 2, 505), as Woolf described them to Vanessa Bell, but they do represent (at least for Woolf) a particular fraction, “the top layer,” of a circulating-library public. 

<10> Standing in for an audience that Woolf was in fact hoping to reach, Richmond also shared—at least according to Woolf—some of her bias against marketplace tactics. In a diary entry about an earlier meeting from January 1920, Woolf reports that over “tea with Elena,” “we broached, delicately, the subject of the Supplement”: “She said that people were nice to her in order to influence reviews. She said they made Bruce’s life a burden to him.” Making an equal return for Richmond’s candor about her subjection to authors, Woolf describes a recent “interview with Mrs Clifford,” which I will consider at length below, in what we can infer were comparable tones: “It was all known to her, I could see; she knew Mrs Clifford’s methods.”(6) Although Woolf goes on condescendingly to assert that her old friend views such “methods” with “the simple brown eyes of the nicest, most modest, of collie dogs,” she also writes she “liked Elena for sharing my feeling of repulsion” to them (Diary 2, 15-16). Despite the differences Woolf elsewhere constructs between the worlds of South Kensington and Bloomsbury, here the two stand shoulder to shoulder in “revulsion” at the “methods” Woolf associated with a literary underclass—a category she invariably associates with “Mrs Clifford.” But what were those “methods” and why do they inspire such “revulsion”? And who was Mrs. Clifford anyway?

<11> Lucy Lane Clifford’s professional career was conducted under very different auspices than Virginia Woolf’s. Novelist, children’s author, literary journalist, and playwright, she counted on publishing to support herself and her two young daughters after the death from tuberculosis in 1879 of her husband, the Cambridge mathematician and freethinker W. K. Clifford, a friend and protégé of Leslie Stephen who held a chair in mathematics at University College London in Gower Street.(7) According to Noel Annan, “[i]t was Stephen who got up a subscription to send [the Cliffords] to Madeira in the vain hope that he might recover” (Annan 100). Lucy Clifford later reported that on her husband’s last night in London, Leslie and Julia Stephen came to say their goodbyes, “tall and grave and thin, as if they remembered a world of sorrow and understood ours, and were half-ashamed of their happiness” (qtd. in Annan 81).(8) When the widow returned alone to England, Leslie Stephen later wrote, “Julia of course went to see her.  They became close friends”: “few people, I think, loved my darling better” (Mausoleum 80). 

<12> After her husband’s death, Lucy Clifford’s friends rallied around her, especially solicitous, perhaps, in view of her financial situation, which they aimed to remedy. Leslie Stephen’s sister-in-law from his first marriage, Anne Thackeray Ritchie, passed on the news of Clifford’s death to George Eliot, herself recently bereaved, who “promptly sent £10” to a memorial fund and, unusually for her, offered to go and see the young widow if she were not able to come to the Priory (Haight 525). Charles Darwin gave £50 to the same fund (Dawson 166), which ultimately amounted to £2,300, yielding about £90 income each year (Chisholm 69). With Fred Pollock, a close Cambridge friend of W. K. Clifford, Leslie Stephen edited a posthumous two-volume collection of his Lectures and Essays (1879), the proceeds from which may be the £65 that Lucy Clifford mentions in her application to the Royal Literary Fund in February 1880, which was supported by letters from Thomas Henry Huxley and William Spottiswoode, then-president of the Royal Society (“Clifford”). She received a grant of £200 from that fund and, more substantially, a Civil List pension of £80 per year. When all was said and done, Lucy Clifford had a minimum annual income of just over £200 after her husband's death on which to support herself and her children (Demoor, “Where” 34n5).(9) But having already published quite a bit of serialized fiction before her marriage, she quickly got back into print, turning to “writing as the only profession which she could combine with the raising of children” (Demoor, “Self-Fashioning” 276).(10)  

<13> The differences between Lucy Clifford’s situation in 1879 and that of Woolf’s own mother about ten years earlier, as widows with young children, are striking. The death of Herbert Duckworth was much more sudden and unexpected than W. K. Clifford’s, but unlike her exact contemporary, Julia Duckworth was left financially secure (cf. Rudikoff 152). Thus while she went on to do a good bit of writing during her second marriage—stories for children; an entry on her aunt Julia Margaret Cameron for the DNB; essays on women and agnosticism as well as “the servant question”; a pamphlet on nursing, which was published by Smith, Elder in 1883—she did so as an unpaid amateur.(11) By contrast, with the exception perhaps of her mother, who died in 1901 (Chisholm and Demoor 37n1), Clifford appears to have been cut off from her birth family—which was, significantly, a family of writers—noting in her application to the Royal Literary Fund, “I have no expectations & no relations able or willing to help” (“Clifford”).(12) And a further contrast with a member of the next generation is also instructive. While Clifford had that £200 a year after her husband’s death in addition to whatever she could earn by her writing, Virginia Stephen inherited £2,500 in 1909 from her aunt Caroline Emilia Stephen, which provided her with the additional support of a secure if relatively modest annual income (Letters 1, 391). “By the time she married Leonard in 1912,” “her capital totaled more than £9,300 and yielded an income of around £400 a year” (Gualtieri 184), just shy of the figure she named fifteen years later in A Room of One’s Own as requisite for a woman to establish writerly autonomy and thus to have a shot at achieving aesthetic “integrity” (Room 71). Whatever else we might say about the differences between them, Lucy Clifford quite literally could not afford either Virginia Stephen’s ambivalence about writing for money or Virginia Woolf’s sense of what constituted “integrity.” 


<14> Instead, Lucy Clifford networked. In order to make her way, she accessed and enhanced her own and her husband’s professional circles by continuing after his death to host ‘in homes’— as Julia Stephen and her daughters also did—that brought together members of her intersecting sets, for her advantage as well as theirs. Fred Pollock, Leslie Stephen, and the Huxleys “were often” present, and “more rarely,” Grant Allen, Thomas Hardy, and Eliza Lynn Linton; one memoirist described Clifford as still keeping up “the old tradition” of ‘in homes’ even at his time of writing in 1916 (Clodd 37). In 1881, armed with a letter of introduction from Linton, whom she had met in Florence (Colby 50), the London newcomer Vernon Lee traveled from her Bloomsbury base with Mary Robinson “to see Mrs. Clifford,” who “lives at the world’s end” in Bayswater (Lee 66). There Lee met the Athenaeum editor Norman MacColl, one of Leslie Stephen’s “Sunday Tramps,” who left £2,000 to Lucy Clifford’s two daughters at his death in 1904 (Chisholm 71), as well as the “hideously shy” (Lee 66) Leslie Stephen, who had been publishing Lee’s work in The Cornhill since 1879. Subsequently a dinner guest at Clifford’s, Lee first encountered the freethinking Mathilde Blind, a former associate of W. K. Clifford (Dawson 167) and a member of radical circles; and Helen Zimmern, “author of the first critical English biography” of Schopenhauer and close friend of the poet Amy Levy (Vadillo 40). Lee continued the connection with Clifford on her successive summer returns to London at least until the end of the decade. If what Vineta Colby calls Lee’s “too obvious interest in promoting herself” (114) irritated some of her new London associates, especially after the appearance of the roman à clef, Miss Brown (1883), then in the somewhat sensational aftermath of its publication, Lucy Clifford was still willing to maintain the relationship. As Lee wrote to her mother in 1883, “if any set claims me…it is the Clifford one,” describing it as composed of “people of some weight” (Lee 130), including Henry James.(13)  

<15> It would be fair to say, I think, that Lucy Clifford knew—or certainly knew of—virtually everyone in the turn-of-the-century literary world who was worth knowing. But like Andrew Lang, if for different reasons, she has come down to posterity mainly as a footnote. It’s worth giving a glimpse, however, of just how wide and deep her connections were, in that they give a clear sense of what Virginia Stephen chose against in not making use of them. Marie Belloc Lowndes described Clifford as “[t]he dear and honoured friend of men as different as Huxley, Browning, Tyndall, John Morley…and…James Russell Lowell,” whom she counted among “a number of remarkable people [who] were to be met every Sunday afternoon in her cottage-like, ground-floor sitting-room,” including “the young, unknown Bernard Shaw” (63; cf. Demoor, “‘Not’” 240). Fred Pollock’s son John includes among Clifford’s guests in the new century Ford Madox Ford, Elizabeth Robins, Violet Hunt, and Somerset Maugham as well as “authors, literary agents, [and] publishers”—like Woolf’s half-brother Gerald Duckworth, whose firm issued at least three volumes of Clifford’s work (Pollock 80).(14) Clifford’s biographer Monty Chisholm notes that Theodora Bosanquet even met Ezra Pound at Lucy’s home (80). Like John Pollock, who suggested that both Hugh Walpole and Noel Coward “got a helping hand from Lucy Clifford in their upward climb” (81), Lowndes singled her out for “the active help [she] was always eager to give unknown writers” (63). While she counted many men within her network, Clifford’s professional and personal relationships with women writers were just as numerous: friends among her older contemporaries included Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Rhoda Broughton, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Margaret Oliphant, while she also maintained connections with Mary Cholmondeley, May Sinclair, Alice Meynell, and Mary Augusta Ward (Chisholm 123-4). She ultimately served as president of the Women Writers’ Society in 1902 (Demoor, “Where” 35, 37).

<16> Making a career for herself and thus a living for her family meant that Clifford used all the available means at her disposal to promote her friends’ work and to publicize her own, marking her as a conscious and active participant in the marketplace. That involved a fair amount of what Woolf was later to call the “slightly discreditable” practice of engaging in “literary gossip” (Diary 1, 254), not only in her conversation and her private letters, but also in a column devoted to literary gossip that appeared in the Athenaeum. Such “methods” paid off in immediate ways.(15) In Demoor’s words, Clifford “embraced the possibilities of the contemporary mass media” (“Self-Fashioning” 278) by giving interviews and sitting for publicity photos as, for example, in an interview with Mary Angela Dickens, eldest grandchild of the novelist, that appeared in The Windsor Magazine in 1899. Although characterized by Demoor as having “no qualms about self-advertisement” (“Where” 34), Clifford does at times evince some hesitation about publicity. On the basis of their conversation, Dickens reported that “the temptation to advertise herself and her wares, as is nowadays too much the fashion, passed Mrs. Clifford by”: “So keen and so delicate was her feeling with reference to her husband’s name that…she published all her earlier books anonymously rather than run the faintest chance of being thought to make capital out of Professor W. K. Clifford's reputation” (484). This claim does not entirely square with scholarly analysis.(16) Moreover, the head shot that illustrates the interview signals Clifford’s availability for public consumption in the commodification and circulation of her image. 

<17> Whatever Clifford actually thought or felt on this score—and the evidence here is mixed— one might imagine that, at the least, the rhetoric Dickens uses to describe Clifford’s stance provided her with a way of positioning herself for readers of the 1880s and 90s: as a respectable and lady-like writer who observes the old-school proprieties. At the same time, Dickens also goes on to declare that her subject is proud rather than ashamed of what she has accomplished as a working woman: “Happily, Mrs. Clifford says, the feeling that work of any sort is a degradation, provided it is necessary or advisable to do it, has vanished or is vanishing, and that is one great step in the right direction” (Dickens 485). Being careful not to offend the sensibilities of gender traditionalists while yet staking a claim for the “great” woman writer, Clifford told Dickens, “There is no honour or credit in doing men’s work less well than they themselves can do it”: but “if a woman has genius, or even real talent in any direction, that is another matter” (485).

<18> Clifford herself “became famous overnight,” in Demoor’s words (“Self-Fashioning” 276), upon the publication of Mrs. Keith’s Crime (1885), which earned praise from Browning, Hardy, and Walter Besant (Demers 190). Obviously autobiographical in part, this first-person novel concerns “a strong, independent woman who, against all odds, establishes herself professionally as an artist” (Demoor, “Self-Fashioning” 285). It closes with a shocking turn when the main character, after the death of first her husband and then her son, chooses to euthanize her daughter in advance of her own fast-approaching death.(17) A later work, Aunt Anne (1892), takes up the doubly scandalous topic of an older woman who marries a much younger fortune hunter—who happens already to be married to someone else. Such plots clearly connect Clifford’s writing to sensation fiction, but Aunt Anne also earned a good deal of critical esteem. The poet William Watson wrote in the Bookman that the novel “clearly established her claim to be looked on as a writer of a high order of fiction” (qtd. in Stetz 126).(18) In her “Book Gossip” column in Sylvia’s Journal, Marriott-Watson praised Aunt Anne for its “just and righteous scorn of our modern pharisaism [sic],” calling Clifford “a woman who thinks…[and is] fearless and unshrinking…of the facts” (qtd. in Hughes, Graham R. 183). Publisher’s Weekly went still further, ranking it above two other books of its year, Ward’s History of David Grieve and Hardy’s Tess, and commending it on two usually opposed counts: “We think it will be generally acknowledged that Mrs. W. K. Clifford's ‘Aunt Anne’ was the most brilliant and original English novel of 1892 and the one which achieved the greatest popular success. It seemed to fulfil [sic] all the requisites of fiction; it was fresh and unconventional in subject; true to life; therefore both amusing and pathetic and at the same time well constructed and vivaciously written” (“Books” 172). And years later, in his preface to The Old Wives’ Tale (1908), Arnold Bennett described himself as “a convinced admirer of Mrs W. K. Clifford’s most precious novel, Aunt Anne,” and its “story of an old woman” (32).(19) Based on these two books alone, one can see that Clifford clearly had a strong sense of the late-Victorian market for fiction that spoke to women’s changing status.

<19> Like her now-frequently anthologized (and terrifying) stories for children, both Mrs. Keith’s Crime and Aunt Anne are compelling reads, if somewhat difficult to place within generic categories. Each seeks to engage readers with a taste for what Kate Newey has called “sensation melodrama” (158), while exploring the interior life of a central female character. Though not quite high-end realism or protomodernist experiment, Clifford’s technique in Mrs. Keith’s Crime does anticipate the increasing emphasis in the last quarter of the century on fiction that represented women’s varied psychic states. And though it was not quite “fiction with a purpose,” either, she did position her work in relation to New Womanhood and contemporary debates around gender and sexuality, and she certainly takes up protofeminist themes and topics. In the preface to A Flash of Summer (1896), in which the young heroine marries a man, more or less against her will, for his money and then suffers for it, Clifford claims that its main character and plot “suggested themselves to me a few years ago, before marriage problems and questions had attained their present importance in fiction,” and so the story “does not in any way belong to recent controversial discussion” (n.p.). By calling up yet disavowing the novel’s associations with the hot topics of New Woman fiction, Clifford might be treading lightly through a minefield, seeking to navigate a position that would court some readers without alienating others, including critics or fellow writers. Demoor implies as much in noting that “unlike [Marie] Corelli, [Clifford] did not reject the New Woman novel,” but she “refused to go as far as [Mary Augusta] Ward since she did not take the side of the anti-suffragists in their campaign” against votes for women (“Self-Fashioning” 279). Along these lines, Clifford frames her novel (and perhaps her career) as steering a kind of middle way that might win her readers from opposing political and/or aesthetic camps. 

<20> So, too, in her turn to writing for the theatre around the middle of the 1890s, which she pursued well into the new century, Clifford drew on protofeminist themes, sought new markets, and continued to expand her networks. With its title drawn from Swinburne’s “A Ballad of Burdens,” her best-known play, The Likeness of the Night (1899; perf. 1900), was produced by Madge and William Kendal and received a respectable 63 performances at London’s St. James’s Theatre in 1901. Derived from a story she had first published in Temple Bar, “The End of Her Journey” (1887), this bigamy drama was also made into a film in 1921 (Newey 159); Clifford remained eager to adapt both her fiction and her plays for the screen. She continued to deploy the generic mix Newey identifies as “sensation melodrama” in The Searchlight (1904), which traces the afterlife of a woman released from prison after serving time for murdering her husband. The actor-manager and suffragette Lena Ashwell also produced Clifford’s one-act, “The Latch,” at the Kingsway in 1908, during the same season she mounted Cicely Hamilton’s Diana of Dobson’s. Clifford wrote stage comedies, too, such as the one-act “A Honeymoon Tragedy,” which, although “not programmatically political,” contains “sharp observations of the consequences of unequal power relations between the sexes” (Newey 158, 161). Writing about it in the Saturday Review on 21 March 1896 alongside “a couple of [Florence] Bell’s drawing room pieces,” Bernard Shaw comparatively deemed Clifford’s play “of much more serious merit” than Bell’s (Shaw 545). One does have to wonder if Shaw’s review preceded or post-dated his acquaintance with Clifford—especially as another member of that audience, Stella Duckworth, having attended the matinee with the “Vs,” wrote in her daily diary that the plays were “not very good” (Duckworth).(20)

<21> Although we do not know what the “Vs” may have thought of the play, this event constitutes, to the best of my knowledge, Woolf’s only firsthand encounter with any of Clifford’s output. Did Woolf read “the [two] cheap flaring books” (Diary 2, 12) that Clifford gave her, when she and Leonard visited Clifford’s home for tea early in 1920? If so, we have no evidence of that: indeed, Woolf did not comment either privately or publicly on any of her literary or theatrical work as, she surmised, Clifford had hoped that she would.(21) Although she refused to participate in Clifford’s networks or to extend her efforts at self-promotion, in my view, Woolf nonetheless labored in her shadow.


<22> The standard practices of Clifford and so many others at the turn of the century were ones about which Woolf was deeply ambivalent. She associated the commodifying and self-publicizing tenor of “literary gossip” with a mode of professional authorship that she sought to keep at arm’s length, even as she perceived some advantages to it. Writing to Roger Fry in May 1923, as she returned to work on Mrs. Dalloway after a holiday abroad, she asked for advice on “how to acquire the social manner—neither cold nor hot?…What irritates me is to see—anybody, Mrs. W. K. Clifford it may be—possessed of a sense which I have not,” calling it “essential for a writer. I think Proust had it” (Letters 3, 39). If “the social manner” is “essential”—as it presumably was for Clifford—then Woolf’s (perceived) inability to “acquire” it seems like a detriment: if even Lucy Clifford has it, she asks, then why doesn’t she? This one relatively positive comment aside, she seems mainly to have found Clifford déclassée, as did her other relations. Vanessa Bell recalled her as a “vulgar, rollicking” woman “who gossiped endlessly about the literary underworld” (Sketches 75), and the socially ambitious George Duckworth considered her, as Woolf wrote in “22 Hyde Park Gate,” not sufficiently “nice” for his half-sisters to know (Moments 169). Even Leslie Stephen, himself “closely involved in the marketplace” (Lee, “Crimes” 117), described his loyal friend as “to my taste a little too much immersed in the journalistic element” (Mausoleum 80). Read from a particular angle, these (and other) class-based judgments about the relatively successful Clifford certainly support Demoor’s claim that Woolf was, on the whole, “unable to feel any sympathy for professional women writers like Clifford” (“‘Not’” 246). Given the challenges that Clifford faced—and met—in restarting and then maintaining a viable career after her husband’s death, Woolf’s attitude, which ranges from mild indifference to outright hostility, should be troubling to feminist sensibilities. To pour scorn on someone to whom Henry James once referred as the “bravest of women and finest of friends” suggests that Woolf wholly failed to contextualize this sort of writerly career within either Clifford’s personal circumstances or the exigencies of the turn-of-the-century literary marketplace (Demoor and Chisholm 15n8). But in the late 1910s and early 1920s, it is Woolf’s uncertainty about her own status as a relative newcomer, I submit, that partially generates these and other unflattering references.(22) She conjures up Clifford in her letters or diaries, that is, only when confronting her own position in the marketplace.

<23> Written just a few months before Gerald Duckworth accepted Night and Day (1919) for publication, a diary entry of March 1919 evokes one of Woolf’s childhood memories of Lucy Clifford. She is reporting an encounter with the Newnham-educated novelist and biographer Mary Agnes Hamilton, known as Molly, who went on to become a Labour M. P. in the late 1920s (Grenier). With Woolf having characterized Hamilton after their first meeting as “a working brain worker” without “a penny of her own,” but with “the hard working brain of a professional,” this new acquaintance clearly reminds her of Clifford: Woolf identifies them as belonging to the same type (Diary 1, 174). Her remarks testify to her dual attraction to and distaste for the shop talk she has just been overhearing (from the next room) about John Middleton Murry, within the context of a broader reflection on authorship:

[These little bits of literary gossip] point perhaps to one’s becoming a professional, a hack of the type of Mrs W. K. Clifford, who used to know exactly what everyone was paid, & who wrote what, & all the rest of it. I can see father listening with disapproval, but secret enjoyment. Mrs Hamilton made me feel a little professional, for she had her table strewn with manuscripts, a book open on the desk, & she began by asking me about my novel; & then we talked about reviewing, & I was interested to hear who had reviewed Martin Schüler [by Romer Wilson], & was a little ashamed of being interested…. The truth is that Molly Hamilton with all her ability to think like a man, & her strong serviceable mind, & her independent self-respecting life is not a writer. (Diary 1, 254-5)

Woolf’s memory of and identification with Leslie Stephen here mediates the association of Clifford with Hamilton. Recalling his (perceived) response to his friend’s conversation—both overtly disapproving and covertly enjoying—helps Woolf to analyze her feelings about her own exchange of “literary gossip” with Hamilton, in being both “interested” and “a little ashamed of being” so at the same time. If engaging in such gossip renders “becoming a professional” equivalent to becoming “a hack of the type” of Clifford, then Woolf, too, like her father, is implicated in and by the exchange, lacking the desired and desirable distance on this aspect of their shared work. She moves from this response to a description of “feel[ing] a little professional” herself as she talks shop with Hamilton, surrounded by the tools of their joint trade; but here she begins to suspect Hamilton’s own credentials, to conclude that, her qualifications notwithstanding, she “is not a writer.” Over the course of the passage, as first Clifford, then Hamilton comes to exemplify the “type,” Woolf sorts through the various categories that she might use not simply to characterize others, but to classify herself: “writer” unmodified is the term at which she arrives. 

<24> A week or so later, she compares her tea with Hamilton to tea with Katherine Mansfield, with whom, “as usual,” she finds “a sense of ease & interest, which is, I suppose, due to her caring so genuinely if so differently from the way I care, about our precious art. Though Katherine is now in the very heart of the professional world—4 books on her table to review— she is, & will always be I fancy, not the least of a hack. I don’t feel as I feel with Molly Hamilton that is [to] say, ashamed of the inkpot” (Diary 1, 258). Although she would waffle about Mansfield again and again—especially after her disparaging review of Night and Day—Woolf here identifies with her friend without noticeable ambivalence, even though Mansfield, married to Murry, is at “the very heart of the professional world,” affiliating herself with her, as against Hamilton or Clifford, in their shared but different “caring” for their “precious art.” 

<25> That while awaiting news about the publication of her second novel Woolf “was actually writing primarily for money…more often than” Mansfield (Macnamara 95) suggests just how conflicted and contested such terms as “hack” and “professional,” “artist” and “writer,” were within Woolf’s lexicon. After a later meeting with Hamilton that seems to reflect greater awareness of her material circumstances (Grenier), Woolf writes that Hamilton’s “courage impresses me,” as Clifford’s did so many of her peers. Yet she notes as well “the sense [Hamilton] gives of a machine working at high pressure all day long—the ordinary able machine of the professional working woman” (Diary 1, 312). While the association of the “professional” with the “machine” anticipates Woolf’s critique of professional training for men in both Three Guineas (1938) and her late unfinished memoir, “A Sketch of the Past” (1939-40), she here accords “the professional working woman” of her own generation a modicum of respect. And even at Woolf’s most jaded moments, Hamilton never evokes the “feeling of repulsion” regarding “methods” that Woolf had shared with Elena Richmond in January 1920, just a few days after she and Leonard had gone to Clifford’s Paddington lodgings for tea. Describing Clifford then as “the whole figure of the nineties—black velvet—morbid—intense, jolly, vulgar—a hack to her tips, with a dash of the stage,” Woolf’s sole comment on the précis her parents’ old friend apparently gave Leonard of the circumstances of her husband’s death, and the financial straits in which she found herself thereafter, is that “the pathetic is not her line,” “[s]he talks it to fill up space” (Diary 2, 12). 

<26> Significantly, the diary entry in which Woolf gives a rather lengthy account of that meeting is framed by references to the reception of her own work. She recalls hearing Night and Day praised a few nights earlier by a Heinemann employee whom she met at a party (Diary 2, 11). Near the close of the entry, she mentions that “a 2nd edition of the Voyage Out [is] needed; & another of Night & Day shortly,” while a publisher has offered her “£100 for a book” (13). Between these two items, however, she describes how “this talk of novels”—that is, of her own novels—“is all turned sour & brackish by a visit to Mrs Clifford.” At about 75 years of age, she has changed her appearance by “false teeth,” and her hair “is surely browned by art; but she remains otherwise the same” as the last time Woolf had seen her, approximately “20 years ago” (12). What really interests Clifford, on Woolf’s account, are the professional aspects of literary life, and this interest takes on a monitory function for Woolf, arguably heightened by her own disavowed interest in such matters:

…if I could reproduce her talk of money, royalties, editions, & reviews, I should think myself a novelist; & the picture might serve me for a warning. I think one may assume it to be more a product of the 90ties than our age…having years ago made a success, she’s been pulling the wires to engineer another ever since, & has grown callous in the process…she has a review of herself in the Bookman & a portrait, & a paper of quotations about [her recently published novel] Miss Fingal. I assure you I can hardly write this down—Moreover, I had a feeling that in these circles people do each other good turns; & when she proposed to make my fortune in America, I’m afraid a review in the Times was supposed to be the equivalent. Brave, I suppose, with vitality & pluck—but oh the sight of the dirty quills, & the scored blotting paper & her hands & nails not very clean either—& money, reviews, proofs, helping hands, slatings—what an atmosphere of rancid cabbage & old clothes stewing in their old water! (12)

Casting Clifford’s talk as “more a product of the 90ties than our age”—despite her own participation in and reflections on “literary gossip” over the preceding several months and years—Woolf’s somewhat “callous” portrait of Clifford’s wire-pulling self-promotion within her “circles” accords her bravery, “vitality & pluck,” but emphasizes in large part the “dirty” business of her literary labor. Suspecting Clifford of wanting to trade on their relationship, she also seems to suspect herself: for if it were otherwise, why would she need the “warning” that “the picture” would provide? Momentarily implying an audience for her diary-writing in protesting to the imaginary “you” that she “can hardly write this down,” she hints at the facetiously self-critical stance she would later take, in a letter of 1929 to Vanessa Bell, about Hugh Walpole. Describing him as a “brother under the skin…of Rose Macaulay and the late Lucy Clifford,” who had died just a few months earlier, “he will talk about reviews and sales and dingy dirty literary shop, and drags me in, who am naturally so pure” (Letters 4, 60). Clearly, she knew that she was not, and that no one in her line of work actually could be “pure”—a pretty significant word in this context—if aiming to make a living at it. 

<27> In her subsequent debate with Logan Pearsall Smith later in the 1920s, when he objected to and she defended her writing for publications like Good Housekeeping or Vogue, Woolf articulated well and clearly a rationale for publishing in (feminized) middlebrow venues (Wood; Garrity). But in identifying Clifford with gossip, publicity, and the mechanisms of exchange, and locating that “type” as “a product of the 90ties,” she differentiates herself from such contemporaries as Walpole and Macaulay even as she deprecates one of the paradigms for literary professionalism that she would have liked to relegate “to the 90ties,” to the past. In belittling Clifford because she wrote for money and talked of “’fees,’” Woolf generated an image of dirt, impurity, and decay that she identified with the conditions of the turn-of-the-century literary marketplace: to return to Bourdieu’s terms, she provides a rationale for ignoring it publicly and thus also destroying it. The stink of “rancid cabbage & old clothes” insinuates that the poverty of the hack clings not only to Clifford’s person and her home, but also to her work. In simultaneously attributing “a dash of the stage” to Clifford’s persona and claiming “the pathetic is not her line,” Woolf constructs that persona as informed by theatricality, shaped by and for its repeated public performances. Having been hardened in and by the process, Clifford now lets “the wires” show. And Woolf still recurred to that “warning” as many as five years later, in a diary entry that refers to Clifford’s “hanging lips & clamorous vanity,” presumably provoked by a letter from Clifford which puffs “an article on George Eliot which she wrote for a special fee”: “that is where I shall end,” Woolf writes in a parenthesis, “if I dont take care—talking always of ‘fees’” (Diary 3, 150).(23)


<28> Two decades into her career, Woolf implied in “The Patron and the Crocus” (1924) that the diversity of the current literary scene was wholly a phenomenon of the new century, in that “the present supply of patrons is of unexampled and bewildering variety”: “There is the daily Press, the weekly Press, the monthly Press; the English public and the American public; the best-seller public and the worst-seller public; the highbrow public and the red-blood public; all now organized self-conscious entities capable through their various mouthpieces of making their needs known and their approval or displeasure felt” (Essays 4, 212-13). “In the nineteenth century,” she added somewhat wistfully, “the great writers wrote for the half-crown magazines and the leisured classes” (212). While we can more precisely date the expansion of the reading public and the emergence of mass culture, with its divisions among high- middle-, and lowbrow readers, to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Woolf is generally correct in pointing to the mass-marketplace “methods” and tactics she attributed to Clifford as “a product of the 90ties.”

<29> But here again, gender matters: as Jane Garrity puts it, Woolf occupied “the ambivalent position of the woman writer for whom the lure of mass culture was arguably a more complex, if not strictly enabling, historical development” (31) than it was for the men of her generation. Following a path first charted by Andreas Huyssen, Rita Felski has persuasively argued that the “division between elite and popular culture gradually acquired an explicit gender subtext” during the fin de siècle so that, for example, “the ostensibly distanced and unemotional aesthetic stance embraced by both naturalists and modernists was explicitly valorized over the feminine sentimentality associated with popular fiction” (80). Woolf more or less consciously took up that “stance” in each of her first two novels (Corbett). Simultaneously, some elites rendered the substantial economic rewards of the best seller as the very inverse of its aesthetic value: as Aaron Jaffe wryly puts it, pace Bourdieu, “nothing fails like success” (159).

<30> In this vein, Woolf distanced herself and her generation from Clifford’s doggedly professional approach to the business of literature by casting it as “a product of the 90ties”—even as the shift “from a small audience of cultivated people to a larger audience of people who were not quite so cultivated” (Essays 4, 220), as she writes in “The Modern Essay” (1925), created enormous opportunities for some women writers, Clifford included.  As Linda Peterson concludes in Becoming a Woman of Letters, “the rise or fall of any individual woman author was dependent on the literary field in which she produced her work” (223). And late in her own career, Clifford also engaged in a critique of the mass marketplace that shows a decided understanding of its changing dynamics. Her memorial essay on George Eliot, published in 1913 when she was nearly 70 years old, recalls the brief friendship they forged before Eliot’s demise and before the triumph of the mass-publicity apparatus in which Clifford necessarily participated: “celebrities were not two a penny at that time; a flood of trashy books did not block the way of seekers after good work, nor of its doers, and the Press was more self-respecting than it is to-day:…it used to be said then that a review in the Times sold an edition of a book, and people longed or were curious to see the writer. George Eliot above all others was put on a pedestal” (“Remembrance” 112). During what she calls an “age of giants” (113), Clifford implies that Eliot’s carefully crafted and guarded persona made her inaccessible to public view not only because of her scandalous private life, but also owing to her extreme abhorrence of publicity, which helped her to retain the aura of the uncompromising and uncompromised artist. As Susan David Bernstein has demonstrated to great effect in Roomscape, it is no coincidence that the two women writers who eschewed the “exteriority” of the British Museum Reading Room are the very same two writers whose deliberate, conscious tactics preserved their distance from “silly novels by lady novelists,” whether produced during the mid-Victorian moment of high-end realism or in the modernist context.

<31>Lucy Clifford, by contrast, neither produced “silly novels” nor deconstructed the fictions of genius that both Eliot and Woolf promoted. Instead of attacking the work of others, she adapted herself to the conditions of the literary field as they evolved over time while helping to shape and sustain the writerly communities that were critical to her own success as well as that of others. Rather than continuing to “forget” or “ignore” and thus “destroy” her, bringing Lucy Clifford back into the foreground not only helps to reveal the fuller range of women writers that Virginia Woolf did—and didn’t—think back through; it also demonstrates the professional and personal solidarity with other women writers, across generational divides, that Woolf never fully embraced or achieved.


(1)Sarah Grand’s Selected Letters includes a thank-you note for a new year’s gift to Gladys Singers-Bigger, Grand’s “devoted friend,” dated 2 January 1930, in which Grand writes, “I hope to have a copy of A Room of One’s Own to send you in a day or two. There was none to be had in Bath so I had to order it” (129). A later comment makes it clear that Grand read both To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own (229).(^)

(2)For much more detailed analyses of this than I can offer here, see Beetham 115-30; Brake 145-70; McDonald on “men of letters,” 22-53; and especially Stetz.(^)

(3)For more on Lyttelton and The Guardian, see Rudikoff 95-100. Unlike other commentators who mainly emphasize the journal’s Anglo-Catholic orientation, Rudikoff identifies this periodical as “close to the center of new thought” (100).(^)

(4)After Kitty’s sister-in-law Violet Maxse married Nelly’s brother-in-law Edward Cecil, Kitty and Nelly became close friends.(^)

(5)The letter to Vanessa Bell that reports on this meeting instead focuses on how Woolf came to tell “this gigantic mass of purity” the details of “the story of George,” to which Richmond responds that neither she nor her husband ever liked him: “I couldn’t resist applauding her, and remarking that if she had known all she would have hated him” (Letters 2, 505).(^)

(6)One can only wonder if Lucy Clifford had pressured Elena Richmond to put in a good word for her with her husband, but in any event, the TLS did review her final novel, Miss Fingal, on 3 April 1919 (cited in Demoor, “‘Not’” 241).(^)

(7)The best recent sources for information about Lucy Clifford are Chisholm; Dawson (162-89); and Demoor, ‘‘Not’” and “Self-Fashioning.”(^)

(8)The editor of Stephen’s Selected Letters points out that Annan misdates and mischaracterizes this passage as Clifford’s response to Julia and Leslie’s wedding (1, 192n3).(^)

(9)As Dawson notes of a process that continued long after her husband’s death, “it was necessary for Lucy [Clifford], who now owned the copyright of her late husband’s works, to maximize the potential sales of his posthumous publications by not only keeping [him] in the public eye, but also by ensuring that it was a generally positive—and thus marketable—portrayal of him that was presented” (165), a task made more difficult by his infamous reputation for atheism. See Dawson for Lucy Clifford’s negotiations with Karl Pearson, who edited her husband’s unfinished manuscripts for publication as The Common Sense of the Exact Sciences (1885). Dawson also shows that Lucy promoted “the work of her husband’s allies” in the “Science Gossip” column (177) of the Athenaeum, and “seems to have used her position and contacts…to ensure favourable coverage of him” (178).(^)

(10)Clifford published her early serial fiction in The Quiver, founded in 1861 by the evangelical temperance reformer and businessman John Cassell. For information on The Quiver, see Cooke, who describes it as “for a brief period (1865–69) a serious competitor to Good Words and The Cornhill”; and Brake and Demoor, Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism. Clifford published another serial, entitled Their Summer Day, in this periodical in 1887, as well as some travel essays on Austria in 1902 (Chisholm 188-89).(^)

(11)Bicknell suggests that these stories might have been part of a projected collection, to be illustrated by Leslie, in which the publisher of Clifford’s Children Busy, Children Glad, Children Naughty, Children Sad (1881) had expressed interest (see Stephen, Selected Letters 2, 324n2). For Julia Stephen’s published and unpublished writing, see Gillespie and Steele.(^)

(12)Chisholm demonstrates that Clifford not only fictionalized her birthdate and birthplace, but “was always secretive about her family roots” and “expunge[d] all tangible links with the maternal side of her family”; her maternal grandfather Thomas Gaspey, with whom she grew up in London, “was a most successful journalist, poet, writer,” and two of his sons were also writers (9). Clifford worked as a book reviewer for The Standard for 14 years, while her brother John Lane was its society correspondent, but she “never spoke to him or acknowledged him as her brother” (Chisholm 81; cf. Pollock 80-81).(^)

(13)Clifford did not become close to Henry James until the 1890s—her correspondence with his brother William, who was interested in her late husband’s work, actually precedes the friendship with Henry—but once established, their relationship lasted until the end of his life. See the letters collected in Demoor and Chisholm. At his death in 1916, Clifford was “[o]ne of only three people to inherit money from James” (Demoor “‘Not,’” 239).(^)

(14)In the introduction to her edited collection, Southworth points out that Duckworth also published James, W. H. Hudson, Belloc, Chekhov, Lawrence, Richardson, et al (8).(^)

(15)For more on Clifford’s use of the gossip column to puff her work as well as her daughter Ethel Clifford’s poetry, see Demoor, “Women Authors,” 62. Having published two volumes of poetry with John Lane (Songs of Dreams [1903] and Love’s Journey [1905]), Ethel Clifford gave up her career as a poet upon marrying Fisher Wentworth Dilke on 7 June 1905. This was a wedding to which the Stephen siblings may well have been invited, and not only because of their ties to the Cliffords: the three Dilke children and their mother had been Hyde Park Gate neighbors for many years. When Sybil Dilke died in a fire on Valentine’s Day, 1931, Woolf referred to her, in a letter to Clive Bell, as “my oldest friend” (Letters 4, 291).(^)

(16)Albeit published anonymously, Mrs. Keith’s Crime went into “several reprints which revealed the author’s name and which made sure she would have a publisher” (Demoor, “Self-Fashioning” 276).(^)

(17)For a reading of the infanticide theme in the novel, see Hancock, esp. 308-12.(^)

(18)Stetz places Watson’s review, one of two significant mentions of Clifford in the October 1892 number of the Bookman, as an example of the “strategic alliances between and among the men who ran publishing business and periodicals” in which Clifford figured as “little more than an object of exchange” (127). We might qualify that conclusion somewhat by reference to Clifford’s own active participation in a range of publicity tactics.(^)

(19)On Bennett’s acknowledged debt to Clifford in The Old Wives’ Tale, see [Burstein,] “The Old Wives’ Tale.” Subsequent correspondence between the two, however, shows a less than appreciative tone on the part of Bennett: see Demoor, “‘Not’” 244.(^)

(20)According to the available evidence, Stella Duckworth went to the theatre fairly regularly, both with and without her younger siblings. On 11 March 1893, she and her brother George went to a matinee performance of A Doll’s House, for which Lucy Clifford had given them the tickets and which she described to her diary as “raving mad” (Curtis 23, 22). That same evening she saw Charley’s Aunt with Gerald Duckworth, Margaret Massingberd, and (her cousin?) Charles Fisher (Curtis 22). Just two days later, “a large party consisting of Leslie, Stella, Margaret [Massingberd], Georgie, Gerald and Jack Hills, went to see Elizabeth Robins in The Master Builder” (Curtis 22).(^)

(21)This letter to Vanessa Bell, which recounts Clifford’s return visit to the Woolfs, contains some of Woolf’s crueler remarks about her; see Letters 2, 426-27. This letter also announces the death and funeral of Mary Augusta Ward, which Clifford reportedly attended.(^)

(22)Woolf’s least flattering comment is this one: after Clifford’s death, Woolf wrote to her sister, “All that remains of her in my mind is a cows [sic] black blubbering cunt: why that image persists I know not” (Letters 3, 52).(^)

(23)While Woolf writes that Clifford was going to publish this essay in The Nineteenth Century and After, either she misunderstood the information or Clifford conveyed it incorrectly: the essay to which Clifford referred actually appeared in The Bookman within a few months of this letter, while she had already published an earlier memoir of Eliot in The Nineteenth Century in 1913, from which I quote here.(^)

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