Erica Gene Delsandro
Bristling. I don’t use this word much, and I definitely do not see it on the page often. Maybe that is why it stood out to me when Carrie Rohman (whose post you can read here) employed it in her keynote at the Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf in June 2021. It seemed offhand but managed to strike me as significant. Carrie was saying something about how we—women, I think, in the context of her talk, but let’s circle back to this we later—bristle when we encounter familiar but nonetheless distressing articulations of sexism and misogyny in our places of work.
I often read the scholarship that constitutes new modernist studies wondering, as Virginia Woolf’s narrator did in A Room of One’s Own, whether the author “has a pen in [their] hand or a pickaxe.” For Woolf, an attention to pens and pickaxes derives from her acute understanding of anger and its potential to transform an aut