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résumés / abstracts
"'Holding her pen like a broom': Virginia Woolf's Anxieties about working-Class
Pas de résumé / No abstract
Apprehending the World: Surface, Substance, and the True Experience of Things in Virginia Woolf's Novels
This article examines the different ways of apprehending the world of things in Virginia Woolf's novels. When subordinated to philosophical analysis, things become abstract, withdraw into an irreducible alterity. The movement to apprehend the substance of things requires the permeability of mind that characterizes both artists and children. The substance of things reveals itself through colours, in an epiphany of visibility. Woolf's obsession with the very
texture of things testifies to the need to give materiality to a world often perceived as insubstantial. The true experience of things requires silence and
desertion, that is a phenomenological reduction of the world. It leads to an awareness of the "reserve of invisibility" expanding behind things. This experience corresponds to what Bachelard calls, "retentissement phénoménologique," and which consists in re-capturing a freshness of vision, the capacity to be "ek-stase."
Love with a Fruit-Dish / Nature morte avec l'amour en plâtre / An Instance of Pictorial Eroticism
This article offers to reread a passage of To The Lighthouse applying the criteria of what I call a "pictorial description and "an aesthetic arrangement. Then the text turns out to be emblematic of the whole section as it contains and reveals some hidden meaning which in fact comes to the fore thanks to a pictorial description in which "things" and objects play a fundamental role. An aesthetic experience coupled with a subtle erotic fusion will reveal Mrs Ramsay as the other artist who composes and recomposes shapes and colours wandering in the meanders of the fruit-dish turned still life and macrocosm. So doing, she embodies the figure of the reader of the painting and its critic. The pictorial description illustrates the process of sublimation metonymically shifting desire from one object onto another
To the Lighthouse: the Jarring Rebus of Subjectivity
In the diegesis of To the Lighthouse, the insistence of things constitutes a phenomenal surface that outlines the void of the Thing, figured by Mrs Ramsay, the trope that signifies both presence and absence and that determines object relations through the mediation of the look and the voice. The novel's narrative economy will consist in transforming the lighthouse, the object of scopic desire and the fantasmatic locus of the Thing, into an empty signifier, so that the journey of human desire can begin. If Lily Briscoe does not go to the lighthouse, this is because artistic sublimation requires something else: abandoning the fusional desire to be "like waters poured into one jar", writing the spectral thing off at the very core of the art object, and translating the remains of the jar, "that jar on the nerves", into the picture, its living trace.
Epistolarity and Object Relations
Pas de résumé / No abstract
Virginia Woolf and the Shop Window
Pas de résumé / No abstract
Abject Objects in Jacob's Room
Pas de résumé / No abstract
The Nature of Things in Orlando
The purpose of this article is to study how Virginia Woolf manages to endow the most trivial thing with a poetry and a significance which can transform it into the magnificent symbol of some fundamental idea she means to develop.
One of the most striking characteristics of Orlando is the fact that it is teeming with lists and inventories of objects which are either meant to anchor the text in reality or to allow Virginia Woolf to develop theories about such varied subjects as the creative power of the writer or womans role in society.
It would be possible to classify the numerous objects which fill the biography according to their historical value, their ability to trigger powerful emotions (in which case their status of objects is transcended into something more abstract), their role as metonymic extensions of the self, (the social import of clothes is of particular interest in this respect) or their metaphorical value (some objects are definitely chosen by Woolf because they are tokens of a period).
But we shall also see that the relationship between things and the words which are meant to represent them is a constant mystery to the narrator and to the character of Orlando who are both spokesmen of Virginia Woolfs concerns as a writer. The gradual shift from a metonymic to a metaphorical apprehension of things in the course of the novel attests to the modernist enterprise of a writer who is at a loss to transcribe the mutifariousness of life and who shifts from a realistic mode of description to a more modern one, emphasising the elusiveness and the fragmentary aspect of things and characters.
"Let us then keep the form unsigned": Things and the Inscription of the Feminine in Three Guineas
The paper starts from an imaginary confrontation between Woolf and Heidegger to suggest that the former would have laughed at the latter's disquisitions concerning the thingness of things. Three Guineas sees things as gender-producted signs, which leads Woolf to devise a new way of reading things, in a gesture that is meant both to wrench things from male-determined patterns of meaning and to prevent war through the production of a new culture. Particular attention is thus paid to the narrator's use of photographs and to the rhetorical devices that implement Woolf's aesthetic policy. But the paper primarily concerns itself with the writing "I"'s position in the text. Using Derrida's philosophy of restance in La Carte postale, the author comes to define the inscription of the feminine as "an operation in the distance." A new light is thus shed on Woolf's polemical stance in Three Guineas.
"Capricious Friendships with the Unknown and the Vanished" (a Reading of some of Virginia Woolf's Essays)
Although recent criticism has foregrounded the socio-historical import of Woolf's works, the formalist legacy still contributes to a reading of her literary production emphasizing the paradigm shift from a referential to a poetic economy of fictional representation canonized by Lodge's post-Jakobsonian exploration of Woolf. This article intends to displace the focus and move to the margins of the Woolfian canon by evoking some of her essays ("Street-Haunting", "The Moment" ) in which this paradigm shift does not seem to obtain so successfully. The representation of experience and of the effect of the world of objects on consciousness seems here centrifugal rather than to be redeemed by an aesthetic sense of purpose. Things retain an obtuse form of stubborness invalidating any form of poetic patterning just as writing seems doomed to the mere tentative rendering of an irrovocably alien and fragmentary reality. These essays tell thus the story of their own disintegration, of the disruption of the narrative and of the aesthetic vision under the pressure of a metonymical reality.
From "the real thing" to "character": Virginia Woolfs poetics of "life"
Because the question of "things" in the literary text summons up the whole theoretical culture of Platonic metaphysics, and its entrenched binarism, which plants the thing at an unbridgeable conceptual distance from the sign, it is also an excellent critical point, as touchstone for the major issues in literary theory that are at stake in the Woolfian critical heritage: it enables us to identify the dualistic and dichotomous aesthetics of (post-)structuralist readings of Woolf, and invites us to re-read Woolf in order to recover the "flow of language" (Saussure) that her poetics works at, both in the novels and in her theorizing. One central trope of this decidedly un-Platonic poetics is the complex figure and concept of "character", which it is the papers ambition to explore.
Taking our Time with Things: Virginia Woolf's Object Lessons
Since the treatment of things is essential to Woolf's text, and since, in many cases, the lesson taught by the object is at the very center of the organic whole, the translation of these things is crucial to the understanding of the story, the tone, and the point. There must be enough space left around the object for the imagination to roam: all too frequently, the reader is deprived of the desirable margin around the thing, particularly in the translations into French. Taking the texts of Woolf as an example, this paper examines various translations of certain crucial things into French, along with the presentation of the text, and draws its conclusions from them: its object lessons.
Bibliographie sélective de 1990 à 1998 / Select bibliography 1990-1998