Friday, August 25, 2023

"The Girl Prince"

Coming soon from Hurst: The Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race and the Dreadnought Hoax by Danell Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

In February 1910, the young woman who would become Virginia Woolf played the most famous practical joke in British military history. Blackening her face and masquerading as an African prince, with friends she conned her way onto the Dreadnought, the Empire's best battleship. The stunt made headlines around the world for weeks, embarrassed the Royal Navy, and provoked heated discussions in parliament. But who was the 'girl prince' unidentified in public debate 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 true Black experience in Britain, from real princes to Caribbean writers and South African activists. Woolf's social circle was near-exclusively white, but Black lives edged and echoed hers within the rich fabric of national culture, including in response to the hoax. Using letters, diaries, reporting and newly discovered archives, Danell Jones describes an extraordinary chain of events, exploring how and why this future revolutionary novelist joined in a bigoted blackface prank, and probing what it tells us--about Woolf's Britain and Woolf's work.

This is a tantalizingly fresh take on an iconic writer and her deeply problematic stunt.
Visit Danell Jones's website.

--Marshal Zeringue