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Virginia Woolf | A Modernist Perspective

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1980 words Published: 17th May 2017

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Virginia Woolf’s novels incorporate the quintessential elements of the modern experience. I will explore the literary expression of these characteristics in relation to three of Woolf’s novels: Mrs Dalloway, The Waves and To the Light House. Firstly, I will analyse the modernist perspective in relation to form, narrative technique, structural dynamic, gender etc. I will also investigate Woolf’s materialization of time and how its constant reflections on the past incorporate a manifestation with the progression of actuality. I will also deconstruct the thematic ideologies envisioned in Woolf’s texts and relate them to the exhibition of contemporary being. This part of the dissertation will focus centrally on the technical and modernist aspects of Woolf’s writings

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The second part of the thesis will conceptualize the sociological and political background of Woolf’s narratives. I will unravel the historical constructions and implications of her compositions. I will explore the concrete reality and the space that occupies the fictional fabrications of her novels. I will analyse Woolf’s encapsulation of the city as a medium that shapes and conceptualizes aesthetic experience. I will explore her representations of the urban landscape and social environment and relate them to the theoretical investigations promulgated by critical interpretations of the metropolis. I will also analyze Woolf’s exhibition of the city as a transitionary space in which sociological models are deconstructed and materialized.

3) Structure

Introduction: Woolf as the quintessential modernist.

This particular chapter will explore the general interpretations and influences of the modernist writer. It will offer an overview and introduction of Woolf’s works. I will explore Woolf’s idiosyncratic depictions of reality and how this complex process became the central preoccupations of the 19th century modernist writer. I will also deconstruct the radical innovations of the modernist experience and how these cultural, political, economical and historical productions destabilized the conventional constructs of actuality.

Chapter 1: “Past as a continuous presence, literary experiments with time: the experience of linear temporality and contemporary being in Virginia Woolf’s novels.”

In this chapter I will analyze the influential dynamic of the past and how its materialization can formulate contemporary moments of temporality. I will particularly examine Mrs Dalloway. I will investigate the modernist production and representations of psychological and impersonal time. This chapter will incorporate a variety of critical theorist such as Henri Bergson and how his theoretical implications and materializations of time had consequential implications on the modernist aesthetic.

Chapter 2: “Experimental perspectives: the exploration of modern representations of the unconscious in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.”

This chapter will incorporate an exploration of the subjective experience presented in Woolf’s narrative. I will investigate the exposition of Woolf’s “stream of consciousness” technique and its consequential implications on the aspects and productions of the modernist experience.

Chapter 3: Historical representations: a panoramic view of class and social structure in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway

I will explore the social dynamic of Woolf’s novels in this third chapter. I hope to encapsulate an entire perspective and viewpoint of the social world of Woolf’s narratives. I will explore the social relationships that are represented in the text in particular in Mrs Dalloway.

Chapter 4: The City as an aesthetic experience: metropolitan modernity in Woolf’s novels.

In this chapter I will incorporate an intense investigation on the depiction of the urban landscape displayed in Woolf’s novels. I will uncover the aesthetic perspectives of the metropolis and consider its dynamic as a fluctuating and transformative space. I will also examine the different forms in which she presents the city as an aesthetic, irresolute and wavering experience.

Chapter 5: “A feminist critique: understanding Woolf’s perspective.”

This particular chapter will offer an exploration on Woolf’s representations and constructions of gender relations. I will also investigate the depictions of gender stereotypes in relation to class division and structure.

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