At the very end of Three Guineas, an essay about whether or not to donate money

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At the very end of Three Guineas, an essay about whether or not to donate money to various causes, Virginia Woolf says the following: “We can best help you to prevent war not by joining your society but by remaining outside your society but in cooperation with its aim” (170). This idea of being an outsider-activist is important for Woolf—at one point she speaks of creating an “Outsider’s Society” even (126)—but just what does she mean by this notion? Why should women remain outsiders? And outside of what, exactly, should they stand? In addressing these questions, I wonder if you might also be able to explain another quotation from the end of Woolf’s book, which you can find on page 168: “the public and the private worlds are inseparably connected,” Woolf writes, and “the tyrannies and servilities of the one are the tyrannies and servilities of the other.” Three Guineas addresses education and employment, feminism and pacificism. But how are all of these things related? Did the nurses of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade described in Patai’s article think the way Woolf did? Last but not least, I would be particularly interested to hear if you think Woolf’s or Patai’s texts are relevant today, as we witness a resurgence of right-wing extremism, anti-feminist politics, and virulent militarism. Do these texts help us to understand not just the past but also, perhaps, the present? Does Woolf suggest a way to be both a feminist and a pacifist at the same time today?

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