The Revelation of Virginia Woolf`s Existentialist Aesthetics in the novels To the Lighthouse and The WavesMaša Sitar
, 2018, master's thesis
Abstract: My thesis is that Virginia Woolf subverts the conventional notion of time and in refusing to accept the chronological sequence of time, adopts Henri Bergson's time philosophy. The common ground between these two authors is analysed through their interest in human consciousness, their epistemological interest in the interaction between memory and perception, their adoption of a specific world-view and the importance of imagery in strengthening thematic content. Woolf’s treatment of philosophical concepts of time, memory and intuition indicates that she is predominately influenced by Bergson. Though not conclusive, the analysis may contribute to our understanding of Woolf’s fiction and illuminate certain aspects of Woolf's work.
Using Woolf's novels To the Lighthouse and The Waves as primary texts to elucidate the human experience of time, provides sufficient evidence to prove that Woolf’s system of ideas relies on Bergsonian time philosophy; in particular, the research aims to prove that Woolf fully adhered to his conceptualization of dualist temporality and built her fiction upon Bergsonian dualisms.
In this context, we unravel the importance of unity, continuity, epiphany and intuition. These concepts are used to explore the unified experience of time and hold the key to temporal illumination, for in illuminating transience, Woolf also illuminates the manner of transcending it. Thus, she creates a viewpoint that discloses continuity and unfolds in unity. By combining apparently irreconcilable dualisms, she reveals the Bergsonian idea of the multiplicity of conscious states and surpasses the absurdity of life; in other words, this philosophy provides Woolf with a key to answering the existential question of the meaning of life.
Keywords: Virginia Woolf, Henri Bergson, existentialism, modernism, To the Lighthouse, The Waves, dualisms, time, duration, multiplicity, consciousness, unity, continuity, epiphany, and intuition.
Published: 08.01.2019; Views: 230; Downloads: 55
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