Panoramic Still-Lifes: Art, Perception, and Being in the Works of Virginia Woolf
Adair, Robin S
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This project is an interdisciplinary study of Virginia Woolf’s artistic representation of perception in her writing and in particular in her early short story prose experiments, her posthumously published memoir, and three of her major novels. I use a phenomenological framework, drawing primarily from the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, to identify Woolf’s philosophical aesthetic, and to trace how she presents in her fiction an immersive and intersubjective form of realism through vivid descriptions of the object world. The first part of the project analyzes Woolf’s stylistic aims within the context of Post-Impressionism, examining, through interpretive comparisons between visual art and literature, how her approaches and artistic sensibilities aligned with those of Bloomsbury Group members, most notably, the art critic Roger Fry and her sister, Vanessa Bell, a distinguished avant-garde painter. The second part of the study engages in close readings of three of Woolf’s novels — Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, and The Years — to reveal how Woolf’s understanding of time, perception, and embodiment prefigures and engages with early to mid-twentieth century phenomenological and materialist trends of thought in its articulation of the intervening spaces and interactions between humans and the object world.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeOphir, Ella; Lovrod, Marie; moore, jake
Copyright DateJuly 2021