Anthony Daniels on Virginia Woolf and Ayn Rand
British writer Anthony Daniels, who uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, and who will speak next Tuesday in London at an event arranged by Monday Books, has written devastating critiques of Virginia Woolf and Ayn Rand.
Daniels has been verbally attacked by supporters of both writers. I think there is truth to what he says. He's a champion of the rational and the free.
I read Virginia Woolf in school. I responded to her accounts of life in London in the 1920s, to her struggles to write and to the incandescent and psychologically acute streaks of poetry in her novels. (Here is an example, swimming inside her prose.) I never returned to her books. They were a journey made when young which I never wanted to repeat.
Reading both critiques, you might find some unusual connections between Woolf and Rand. It occurred to me that neither author saw that 'Joy and woe are woven fine, a clothing of the soul divine'.
In criticizing Woolf's ideas and Ayn Rand's oppressive style, Daniels affirms a tradition that is free and non-ideological, conserves the best of the past and refuses to throw the baby out with the bath water. It has been under heavy attack since the end of the 19th century.