The First World War and Women as the Victims of War Trauma in Virginia Woolf’s Novels

Author: Mahinur Aksehir-Uygur, Manisa Celal Bayar University, Turkey
Atalay Gunduz, Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey
Eda Burcu Cetinkaya, Manisa Celal Bayar University, Turkey
Published: December 8, 2017

Citation: Aksehir-Uygur, M., Gunduz, A., Cetinkaya, E. B (2017). The First World War and Women as the Victims of War Trauma in Virginia Woolf’s Novels. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(si).


For more than the obvious reasons, the First World War was a devastating experience for Europe. As the first war in history in which the death toll would be immense – due to the extensive use of weapons of mass destruction – it was a traumatic experience even for those who were not directly involved in the armed conflict. The dehumanization introduced by the war caused disillusionment regarding the ideals of enlightenment and the progress myth of the Modernity Project. One of the preeminent writers of the period, Virginia Woolf was among those writers who were deeply traumatized and disillusioned by the experience, even though she was not an active participant in the conflict. In her novels Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway and To The Lighthouse she offers a depiction of gender polarization and women as traumatized victims of the war. This paper, thus, aims to evaluate the First World War and the trauma and disillusionment caused by it as experienced by women through the novels of Virginia Woolf.


Virginia Woolf, disillusionment, war trauma, Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway, To The Lighthouse