Virginia Woolf (Q3023)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

This module focuses on the work of one of the most celebrated women writers of the twentieth century, Virginia Woolf.

Reading her novels, short stories, essays, diaries and letters, we will explore Woolf’s responses to the historical upheavals of her period, including the trauma of the First World War, the beginnings of the end of empire, the battle for women’s rights, and the rise of fascism in both Britain and Europe.

We will read Woolf in the context of the explosion in literary and cultural expression at the beginning of the twentieth century, alongside the innovations of psychoanalysis, and as a foundational figure in the history of feminism. We will also ask: what does Virginia Woolf mean to us today? 

Taking advantage of the rich and unique archive of Woolf’s writing held in the University of Sussex Special Collections, we will read Woolf’s published writing alongside original manuscripts, letters, notebooks and diaries.

Students will also be encouraged to explore Woolf’s connections to Sussex, including (where possible) field trips to Virginia Woolf’s home in Rodmell, and/or to Charleston, the home of the ‘Bloomsbury group’ in Sussex.


33%: Practical (Workshop)
67%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: