“That poor gaping imbecile my charwoman”

Not the Virginia Woolf we most like to remember, but a quote from her nonetheless. There’s a review here of what sounds like a fascinating new book on her relationship to her servants, Alison Light’s _Mrs Woolf and the Servants_. A quote from the review:

Fuelled with indignation at “the history of domination and servility in British cultural life”, [Light] sets out to speak for women servants, both as individuals and as representatives of a largely silenced social group – women who were both “everywhere and nowhere in history”   

A good example of the ways in which someone very sensitive to one form of oppression (sex-based) can be largely blind to another.  (Although there are some indications that Woolf was uncomfortable with the institution of domestic servants, despite her unwillingness or psychological inability to opt out of it.)  I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that she was on different ends of the two oppressions.