Briggs, Julia 1943-
Briggs, Julia 1943-
Born December 30, 1943. Education: St. Hilda's College, Oxford, B.A.
Office—De Montfort University, School of English and Performance Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Clephan Bldg., Leicester, LE1 9BH, England. Agent—Rogers, Coleridge and White, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer and educator. De Montfort University, School of English and Performance Studies, Leceister, England, professor of English literature and women's studies and chair of the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee. Previously associated with Hertford College, Oxford, England; writer.
Night Visitors: The Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story, Faber (London, England), 1977, reprinted, 2007.
(Editor) Don Crompton, A View from the Spire, Blackwell (New York, NY), 1984.
A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1924, New Amsterdam (New York, NY), 1987, reprinted, Tempus Publishing (Stroud, England), 2007.
(Editor, with Gillian Avery) Children and Their Books: A Collection of Essays to Celebrate the Work of Iona and Peter Opie, foreword by Iona Opie, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.
(Editor) Virginia Woolf, Night and Day, Penguin (New York, NY), 1992.
(Editor and author of introduction) Virginia Woolf: Introductions to the Major Works, Virago (London, England), 1994.
Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.
Reading Virginia Woolf, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Times Literary Supplement.
Julia Briggs has published several volumes on English literature. Her first book, Night Visitors: The Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story, provides analysis of such supernatural tales as Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. Spectator contributor Benny Green, while not according Night Visitors a wholehearted endorsement, nonetheless remarked that it "plugs a gap in modern criticism" and constitutes "a detailed examination of the ghost story."
Briggs followed Night Visitors with This Stage-Play World: English Literature and Its Background, 1580-1625, wherein she examines the works of such figures as Thomas Beard and William Prynne. Times Literary Supplement contributor William Lamont—noting that in This Stage-Play World Briggs discusses religion, education, court customs, and even perceptions of nature—called the book "a particularly good advertisement for the interdisciplinary approach," and he added that Briggs proves herself "lucid and up to date."
Among Briggs's other works is A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1924, a biography of the Edwardian-era writer whose books for children include The Railway Children, The Story of the Treasure Seekers, and Five Children and It. Anne McElvoy, writing in the London Times, pronounced A Woman of Passion a "lively biography" and pointed out that Briggs "wisely limits speculation about [Nesbit's] psyche, and approaches her via the people closest to her, piecing together her character and environment." In 1989, Briggs served as editor, with Gillian Avery, of Children and Their Books: A Collection of Essays to Celebrate the Work of Iona and Peter Opie.
Briggs is also a specialist on Virginia Woolf and author of Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life. Although numerous biographies have been written about Woolf's life, Briggs presents an "intellectual" biography that focuses on her works in combination with Woolf's interest in the human mind. Beginning with Woolf's first novel, Briggs analyzes the creative process that went into each of Woolf's books. "By doing so, Briggs reminds us of the revolutionary changes Woolf wrought on the modern novel as she sought to capture the texture of everyday experience and the way people thought," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Daphne Merkin, writing in Publishers Weekly, commented, "that this book is a must for Woolf fans goes without saying, but it is also a must for anyone interested in the nature of female consciousness at its most self-aware and the workings of artistic sensibility at their most illuminating." In his review in the Financial Times, Gregory Dart wrote: "There are new insights aplenty, many the result of close analysis of Woolf's manuscripts, and of following, in detail, her habits of revision." Dart added that Briggs's biography of Woolf "sends you back to the novels: with a far better idea of how they came to be written, and a powerfully renewed sense of how very beautiful they are."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Biography, winter, 2006, Curtis Sittenfeld, review of Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life, p. 261.
Booklist, November 15, 2005, Donna Seaman, review of Virginia Woolf, p. 13.
Financial Times, April 23, 2005, Gregory Dart, review of Virgina Woolf, p. 32.
Guardian (London, England), April 9, 2005, Victoria Glendinning, review of Virginia Woolf.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of Virginia Woolf, p. 951.
Library Journal, September 15, 2005, Stacy Shotsberger Russo, review of Virginia Woolf, p. 65.
Publishers Weekly, August 8, 2005, Daphne Merkin, review of Virginia Woolf, p. 221.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2006, review of Virginia Woolf.
Spectator, June 4, 1977, Benny Green, review of Night Visitors: The Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story, p. 23.
Times (London, England), June 10, 1989, Anne McElvoy, review of A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1924; March 27, 2005, Jane Dunn, review of Virginia Woolf.
Times Literary Supplement, September 30, 1983, William Lamont, review of This Stage-Play World: English Literature and Its Background, 1580-1625, p. 1065.
De Montfort University Web site,http://www.dmu.ac.uk/ (December 26, 2006), faculty profile of author.