The Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race and the Dreadnought Hoax (Hardback)
  • The Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race and the Dreadnought Hoax (Hardback)
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The Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race and the Dreadnought Hoax (Hardback)

(author)
£20.00
Hardback 376 Pages
Published: 26/10/2023
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A new look at a revolutionary writer, a diverse imperial city, and a controversial trick on the Royal Navy.

In February 1910, the future Virginia Woolf played the most famous practical joke in British military history. Blackening her face and masquerading as an Abyssinian prince, the young writer and her friends conned their way onto HMS Dreadnought, the Empire’s most powerful battleship. The stunt made headlines around the world, embarrassed the Admiralty, and provoked debate in Parliament. But who was the ‘girl prince’ unidentified at the time, and what was she doing there?

The Girl Prince intertwines three fascinating stories: a scandalous prank and its afterlife; Woolf’s ideas about race and empire; and the actual lived experience of Black people in Edwardian Britain, from real princes to Caribbean writers and South African activists. Using letters, diaries, reporting and newly discovered archives, Danell Jones describes an extraordinary chain of events, exploring why a boundary-pushing novelist once pulled a bigoted blackface prank, and what it tells us—about Woolf’s Britain and Woolf’s work.

This is a tantalisingly fresh take on an iconic writer and her deeply problematic stunt.

Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9781805260066
Number of pages: 376
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘An entertaining, inventive dissection of the mores and contradictions of Woolf’s life and times.’ - The Sydney Morning Herald

'[A] kaleidoscopic study … [Jones’s] thorough overview of the hoax and its afterlives presents a unique window onto the early 20th-century British empire.' - Publishers Weekly

‘Jones introduces many of the extraordinary Black individuals’ resident in the U.K. at the time, including in Woolf’s Bloomsbury, some of whom would go on to play crucial roles in the dismantling of Empire (arguably still ongoing).’ - The New York Journal Review of Books

‘A fascinating, unnerving, and enlightening perspective on a transformative writer and the society that forged her sensibility, radical creativity, and despair.’ - Booklist

‘The Girl Prince is at its most interesting when Jones draws in the contemporary experiences of black people in Britain.’ - Literary Review

‘A superb book, splendidly written, deeply researched and richly contextualized.’ - Virginia Woolf Miscellany

'Deeply researched and marvellously written, this is the book about Bloomsbury and the Dreadnought Hoax that we've been waiting for. Jones gives an essential racial and historical context for the event and its aftermath, which continues to this day.' - Gretchen Gerzina, author of Black England: A Forgotten Georgian History

'An enlightening and insightful book that keeps you reading.' - Remi Adekoya, author of Biracial Britain

'An enthralling book. Danell Jones at last provides the nuanced context and deep historical research so often lacking in commentary on this infamous incident.' - Mark Hussey, author of Virginia Woolf A–Z and Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism

'While some may feel they already know all there is to know about the Dreadnought Hoax, until they read The Girl Prince, they really don’t.' - Virginia Woolf Bulletin

‘A captivating exploration of a little-known chapter in the life of Virginia Woolf, blending history, race, and identity into a compelling narrative.’ - Oxford University Press blog

‘Shows how the Dreadnought hoax ignored its implicit but negative impact on Black people in Britain and around the world… . A fine book.’ - National Maritime Historical Society

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