Moving Mothers of Women: Virginia Woolf Simone de Beauvoir, and Motherhood in Motion


  • Luca Pinelli Università degli studi di Bergamo-Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

Parole chiave:

Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Feminism, Matrilinearity, Reception


This article builds and expands on the notion that Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir are the ‘mothers’ of second-wave feminisms. It comprises three interrelated movements. First, Simone de Beauvoir’s paraphrase of Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is explored, in particular through the ‘myth’ of Judith Shakespeare. This movement naturally leads to a discussion of the women’s literature anthologies of the 1970s and 80s in the United States. An intermezzo attempts to show the inherent plurality of the category of ‘second-wave feminism’ by mapping Beauvoir’s trajectory in France, the United States, and Britain, beyond the rather long shadow of a feminism of difference. The third and final movement investigates the reception of Woolf and Beauvoir among second-wave feminist critics and activists through the notion of ‘feminist Bible’ and through that of matrilinearity.
By adopting an overtly transnational perspective, this article shows how the very idea of (intellectual) motherhood ought to be understood in its border-crossings and its movements across time, space, languages, and disciplines.

Biografia autore

Luca Pinelli, Università degli studi di Bergamo-Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

Dopo aver studiato a Oxford e a Bologna, Luca Pinelli sta attualmente completando un dottorato di ricerca in Studi Transculturali in ambito umanistico presso l'Università di Bergamo, in cotutela con l'Université Sorbonne Nouvelle di Parigi. Il suo progetto di dottorato indaga le intersezioni e le risonanze tra la tarda produzione letteraria di Virginia Woolf e la prima filosofia e teoria letteraria di Simone de Beauvoir. I suoi interessi di ricerca includono Oscar Wilde e la fin de siècle inglese, il modernismo inglese da una prospettiva transnazionale e transdisciplinare, la storia delle donne e la teoria femminista (in particolare Virginia Woolf e Simone de Beauvoir) e la teoria queer.




Come citare

Pinelli, L. (2023). Moving Mothers of Women: Virginia Woolf Simone de Beauvoir, and Motherhood in Motion. Elephant & Castle, (31). Recuperato da