Virginia Woolf vibrantly conjures a busy shopping scene in her essay Oxford Street Tide: an exploration of consumerism in London’s busiest shopping strip. Woolf juxtaposes the London’s crude and dirty shipping docks with the glamorous glitz of the Oxford Street shopping strip—or so it appears on the surface. Actually, Woolf writes, Oxford Street itself is a mixture of brash sensations: gluttony for objects and of intense materialism. Woolf vividly represents brash, yet glittering consumerism.
Woolf concedes that consumerism is empty and vacuous. But, in the end, she also concedes happily that this is not a bad thing—don’t we all enjoy a little retail therapy? After all, even Virginia Woolf does.
I have also written about Virginia Woolf’s thought-provoking essay, Thoughts On Peace in an Air Raid.