Vol. 11 (2022)
Studi e Saggi

“A little article on Queen Elizabeth’s nose for Eve”. Virginia Woolf’s “The Waxworks at the Abbey” between Tradition and Modernity

Annalisa Federici
Università degli Studi di Roma Tre

Published 2022-12-23


  • Celebrity Culture,
  • Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial,
  • “The Waxworks at the Abbey”,
  • Virginia Woolf,
  • Women’s Magazines


Although scholars have often illustrated the multiple connections between high and low, elite and popular, tradition and modernity in modernist print culture, the enactment of such dichotomies in a women’s commercial magazine like Eve: The Lady’s Pictorial (1921-29) has not been adequately investigated. This paper analyses Woolf’s essay “The Waxworks at the Abbey”, published in Eve on 23 May 1928, in relation to other types of verbal and visual material (editorials, articles, adverts, pictures) in that particular issue as well as in others. In failing to present history and royalty in a serious or dignified manner, “The Waxworks at the Abbey” at the same time resonates with and undermines the idolisation evident in Eve’s many high society and celebrity pages, thus providing a counterpoint to the magazine’s usual deference to class and cultural hierarchies.


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