Vol. 58 No. 3 (2010)
Research Article

Naming Shakespeare's Sister: Why Woolf Chose Judith

Published 2010-09-01


  • BIBLE,



In her classic feminist treatise, A Room of One's Own (1929), Virginia Woolf creates both a sister and a creative equal for William Shakespeare and names her Judith. Historical, biblical, and literary sources establish the aptness of Woolf's onomastic decision, if not the definitive answer to the question posed. Shakespeare's daughter, Judith, and Woolf's niece, Judith, are considered as possible models for the Bard's sister. Additionally, the title character of the Old Testament “Book of Judith” and of the early English poem fragment Judith is examined as an onomastic source. Finally, Judith Shakespeare is considered as a pseudonym for Woolf herself.


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