[Vwoolf] Doct(o)ress

Stuart N. Clarke stuart.n.clarke at btinternet.com
Thu Jul 20 08:52:29 EDT 2017

“It is a serious inconvenience that neither form ... has been brought into any but facetious use as a prefixed title ... See FEMININE DESIGNATIONS.” (H. W. FOWLER, “A Dictionary of Modern English Usage”, 1926).

However, I’m not sure I’m always able to keep up with developments.  For instance, yesterday I was reading “Virginia Woolf and Heritage: Selected Papers from the Twenty-sixth Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf" [at Leeds Trinity University - 16-19 June 2016], with my animal companion (✔) on my lap, when I read this:

“Jane Marcus’s widow, Michael . . .”

[Why, oh why, do some lesbians adopt masculine names?  (Thank you, Radclyffe Hall.)]

Then four pages later: 

“Jane’s husband and family”.

[Well, Jane Marcus certainly put it about!]

On second thoughts, perhaps Americans don’t (any longer?) use the word “widower”?

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