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Teaching with Woolf Online


DePaul University

Slides for Teaching with Woolf Online
Rebecca Cameron
A presentation about using Woolf Online in the classroom, by Rebecca Cameron, DePaul University

For an example assignment using Woolf Online (and ModNets) in the classroom, see below.

ENG 382 Virginia Woolf: Primary Research Assignment using Woolf Online

Prof. Rebecca Cameron

Value: 15% of overall grade for course

Purpose: To gain insight into Woolf’s writing process, to learn about Woolf’s writing process through her diaries and manuscripts. Your assignment should demonstrate your ability to make use of these primary sources to analyzeTo the Lighthouse. This assignment has three parts, each worth 5 points, for a total of 15 points. You may also use ModNets ( as another way to search and explore related materials in Woolf Online and other related digital scholarly resources
Part I: Diaries (writing process)
Woolf Online includes a series of entries Woolf wrote in her diary while she was working on To the Lighthouse. Read through these diary entries and find two observations that Woolf makes about the novel’s development that help you to understand either the form or the content of Woolf’s novel. What comments did you find most useful to understanding To the Lighthouse, and why? Your response should point to specific passages in the diaries and link them with your own commentary on specific aspects of the novel. Aim to use at least one or two quotations from the novel to illustrate your point.
Part II: Diaries (social context)
Woolf’s diary entries also record her impressions of a General Strike that took place in England in May 1926 in support of coal miners who were being asked to work longer hours for lower wages. The strike affected transportation, newsprint, and food supplies. (See for a general overview). Do any aspects of this General Strike make their way into Woolf’s novel? Your response should make specific connections between her impressions of the Strike and the novel. Consider whether her experiences during the Strike might have influenced her imagery, her depiction of working-class people, or her presentation of social causes, for example. (You may argue that the Strike had no influence, but make sure you illustrate that point with specific references to the diaries and the novel.)

To get started, you might take a look at Woolf's mentions of "strike" between 1926 and 1928. These materials can be accessed through the "1926_general_strike" tag on ModNets that has been added to all the Woolf Online objects from 1926-1928 that mention the "strike" (if you find additional objects in ModNets directly relevant to the 1926 General Strike that are not yet tagged, add this tag to them).
Part III: Typescript
Woolf Online includes several different versions of the “Time Passes” section of To the Lighthouse—notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts, and published editions. Compare the typescript version of “Time Passes,” Section 3, pages 5-8,to the same passage in your published version of the novel (in the Harcourt edition, the passage appears as “Time Passes,” Sections 3 and 4, pages 127-30). Identify two or three key changes that Woolf made to the typescript before it was published, and comment on the effect of these changes. You might consider how the changes affect such matters as tone, imagery, rhythm, cadence, characterization, or theme.