Perpetual Departure: Sacred Space and Urban Pilgrimage in Woolf's Essays

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This chapter explores how pilgrimage as sacred journeying contributes to the formation and perception of sacred space in two of Woolf’s urban essays: ‘The London Scene: IV Abbeys and Cathedrals’ (1932) and ‘Street Haunting’ (1927). Woolf’s writing on sacred buildings and other places blurs boundaries between inside and outside, life and death, stasis and movement. In Woolf’s work pilgrimage is brought into everyday life. Pilgrimage becomes a mode of simultaneously inscribing the ordinary and the extraordinary in material encounters that invite connection while preserving difference. Woolf’s writing shows a mode of sacred journey that is joyful in its affirmation of the sacred as situated within the everyday, rather than an otherworldly beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion, Secularism and the Spirtual Paths of Virginia Woolf
EditorsKristina K. Groover
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-32567-1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Woolf, pilgrimage, de Certeau, sacred space, Street Haunting, Abbeys and Cathedrals


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