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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Virginia Woolf lecture slated for Feb. 18 at URI

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KINGSTON, R.I. –February 4, 2010—Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Clearly not Stephen Barber, an associate professor and chair of the English Department, at the University of Rhode Island.

Barber will deliver a lecture entitled "Out of Duty: Virginia Woolf’s Aesthetics of Existence" Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. The talk, which arises out of a book Barber is writing, will be held in Lippitt, Room 402, 5 Lippitt Road, Kingston. It is free and open to the public.

“My talk concerns the critique and ethics Woolf fashioned in the 1930s as her response to the political atrocities introduced by the rise and intensification of forms of fascism across Europe,” the professor said. “All of Woolf's final work, which she referred to as comprising her ‘philosophy of the free soul,’ may be read as her response to a question she posed to herself in 1935: What is my duty as a human being?

“I examine this duty, along with her attendant concepts of ethos, reason, and psyche, in relation to the new aesthetic she fashions, precisely, as an outsider, that is to say, out of duty,” Barber continued. “This aesthetic folds together an astonishingly original critique of her ‘here and now’ that is, of Britain and Europe in the 1930s --and an ethics for living, here and now, the non-fascist life.”

Barber’s talk is part of the Dana Shugar Colloquium sponsored by URI Women’s Studies Program to feature URI scholars.