Holly Henry investigates how advances in astromy in the early twentieth century had a shaping effect on Woolf's literature and aesthetics as well as on the work of modernist British writers including Vita Sackville-West, H. G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Bertrand Russell, and T. S. Eliot. The 1920s and 30s witnessed a pervasive public fascination with astromy that extended from the US, where Edwin Hubble in 1923 definitively determined that entire galaxies existed beyond the Milky Way, to England, where London's intellectuals discussed Sir James Jeans's popular astromy books and the newly explored expanses of space. In re-evaluating the cultural context out of which Modernism emerged, Henry contends that Woolf, through her own fascination with astromy, formulated a global vision that helped shape her fiction and her pacifist politics. Henry's study includes examinations of scientific and literary archival material and sheds light on Woolf's texts and recent re-evaluations of Modernism.
Holly Henry is Assistant Professor of English at the California State University, San Bernardino. Her research has appeared in publications in both the humanities and the sciences including contributions to Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction edited by Pamela Gaughie (2000) and Astronomy & Geophysics: The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.