résumés / abstracts

Julia BRIGGS : "The Conversation behind the Conversation: Speaking the Unspeakable in Virginia Woolf"
Monica GIRARD"The Conversion of Conversations from Melymbrosia to The Voyage Out"

Frédérique AMSELLE :  "Logick in Pieces: a Stratigraphic Conversation in Woolf's Diary"

Daniel FERRER : " 'The conversation began some minutes before anything was said . . . ': Textual Genesis as Dialogue and Confrontation (Woolf vs Joyce and Co)"
Ariane MILDENBERG : " 'Am I all of them? Am I one and distinct?': Woolf's 'Gigantic Conversation'"
Anne‑Marie SMITH‑DIBIASIO :" The Ebb and Flow of Conversation': a Metaphorics of Maternal Presence"
Françoise BORT : "Conversation, Conversion, Proportion"
: " 'Who knows what precipices aren't concealed in words'. Scraps of Talk in Virginia Woolf's Short Stories and Diaries"
Denise GINFRAY : "Virginia Woolf's Politics of Reviewing: a Place for Conversation"
Liliane LOUVEL : "The Art of Conversation, Conversation as an Art. 'The sisters' arts' "
Anne‑Sophie LE BAIL : "Woolf's Dialogue with the New Sciences"
Christine REYNIER
  : "Conversation Redefined: Notes on 'A Dialogue upon Mount Pentelicus' "
Christine FROULA : "The Play in the Sky of the Mind: Dialogue, 'the Tchekov method', and Between the Acts"

Résumé des articles/abstracts of articles


The Conversation behind the Conversation: Speaking the Unspeakable in Virginia Woolf

This article explores the unspeakable or the unspoken behind conversations in Woolf's fiction, focusing particularly on homoerotic love. To this end, it examines in detail a scene from Between the Acts and one from Orlando, concluding that, particularly in Orlando, Woolf actively enjoyed circumventing the censorship she deplored elsewhere.



The Conversion of Conversations from Melymbrosia to The Voyage Out

The article begins by exploring the impact of Bloomsbury on the creative process of Virginia Woolf's first novel, Melymbrosia, published in 1915 as The Voyage Out. Within this fertile artistic microcosm, conversations enlarged the author's social and intellectual experiences and also nourished her fiction, since they undoubtedly put an imprint on the gestation of her first novel. When examining the different stages of the revision of The Voyage Out, it appears that the conversational patterns and configurations are already rooted in the novel from the very beginning of its composition. However, the author endeavours to modify most of her characters' dialogues from Melymbrosia and resorts to developing and enhancing silence. Thus, the protagonists become elusive and dissolving as their voices are gradually wiped out.


Frédérique AMSELLE

 Logick in Pieces: a Stratigraphic Conversation in Woolf's Diary.

In this paper I contend that Virginia Woolf is not merely keeping records of her holidays in her Warboys Diary of 1899 but is also introducing a complex form of conversation within the narrative. The author opens the frontiers of every‑ 1! day writing to a conversation with a potential reader, and undertakes a literary conversation with other genres. Additionally she creates a process of material conversation with an eighteenth‑century book, thus transforming her diary into an "art object" and autobiographical writing into an "auto ‑strati‑graphy".




"The conversation began some minutes before anything was said . . . ": Textual Genesis as Dialogue and Confrontation (Woolf vs Joyce and Co)

Writers' manuscripts, and more specifically their reading notes, are the scene of a process of interaction that can be analysed in terms of conversation. This is particularly apparent in Virginia Woolf's 1919 notes on James Joyce's Ulysses. Woolf's efforts to come to terms with what she is reading involve a multitude of "side participants", who take part in the exchange. Woolf's own purpose is constantly shifting in the course of the conversation: she tries to understand the book she is reading and to evaluate it, she strives to absorb its novelty and rejects it as a threatening rival, she is forced to question the norms according to which such an evaluation can be made, she begins to draft an essay about modern novels and she indirectly defines what a "woolfian novel", an as yet non‑existent genre, could be. 


"Am I all of them? Am I one and distinct?": Woolf's "Gigantic Conversation".

Nearing the end of writing The Waves, Virginia Woolf struggled with the book's closure. "[H]ow to [ . . . ] press it into one", she wondered, "it might be a `gigantic conversation"'. The Waves never presents us with "conversation" in the usual sense of the term. Instead the book's six voices "melt into each other with phrases [ . . . ] are edged with mist. [ . . . ] [and] make an unsubstantial territory" (W, ii). In The Visible and the Invisible, the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau‑Ponty provides us with a term for this "unsubstantial territory": "flesh" (la chair). "The flesh is not matter, is not mind, is not substance" but rather a "general thing" (1‑39), a phenomenon of reciprocal contact between perceiving subjects.


"The Ebb and Flow of Conversation": a Metaphorics of Maternal Presence

The expose proposes to examine conversation in Woolf's works as an ebb and 198 flow which is audible as recitative in the 'sea' novels: To the Lighthouse, The Waves and The Voyage Out and might be read as an undercurrent of continuity which is a metaphor of the mother's voice. Through close reading of various extracts we analyse this recitative in terms of a poetics of refrain and anaphora giving rise to a rythmic anteriority which silences prose in a way Virginia Woolf herself recognised as proper to both the poetic per se and to the sea. This poetics is often based on a character's reminiscence of words spoken, as words recalled and repeated in states of semi‑consciousness‑after dinner, before sleep‑recover the intensity of their acoustic and visual potential, silencing semantics. Conversation in this sense is linked not so much to the spoken, as to orality, prosody, what G. M. Hopkins called "the record of speech in writing".

Françoise BORT

Conversation, Conversion, Proportion.

On the grounds of the etymological kinship between the words "conversion" and "conversation", the diatribe against Dr Bradshaw's worship for "Proportion and Conversion" in Mrs Dalloway can be read as a shadow praise of the art of conversation: a violent political and aesthetic manifesto echoing a number of Virginia Woolf's essays and autobiographical texts.


"Who knows what precipices aren't concealed in words". Scraps of Talk in Virginia Woolf's Short Stories and Diaries.

Conversation has an essential function in Woolf's works. It can be considered as a sort of key word because it focuses on the fact that words, by building up architectonic forms within language, reveal and conceal, define and deceive, describe and suggest, imply and comment. The intersections between monologues and dialogues, impression and expression, partly emerge through Woolf's original use of punctuation marks which emphasizes a continuity between uttered words and the silent ones inhabiting the mysterious circuits of the mind. Examples are taken from some short stories and some entries of the Diary.Woolf's identity emerges as a continuum in which her ego is intermingled with other egos because the interchange of words does not belong only to her fictitious characters, but often takes place between them and her voice, the narrator's voice, which describes the possible worlds created by the flights of her mind which have the extraordinary capacity of absorbing what lives around and inside her.


Virginia Woolf's Politics of Reviewing: a Place for Conversation

This paper examines how Woolf's artistic project that lies at the intersection of her various commitments as a novelist, an essayist and a reviewer, questions the aesthetic and ethic principles inherited from the Western literary tradition. It posits that her many reviews where novelists, poets, styles, genres, fiction, non‑fiction, social, sexual and cultural parameters intertwine and converse with one another, have paved the way for her own modes of writing and reading, and for the emergence of the modernist novel.

Liliane LOUVEL

The Art of Conversation, Conversation as an Art. "The sisters' arts"

The issue of the visual, of the interrelationship between language/literature and painting appears to be central to Woolf's aesthetic interrogation. She tried to find a satisfying solution to the inter‑art dialogue but it was to no avail. She constantly found herself confronted with the wall of what she called the reticence of painting. Her response then was to accumulate words detailing the experience of the reception of the pictorial work. The question of meaning, of making sense of a picture prevented her from envisaging another way of looking at painting, seeing it as an experience, an event, engaging the viewer in another kind of aesthetic intercourse resisting language. The silence and the reticence of painting which, for Woolf, represented a mystery, sent her back to her own activity, to her work and what it was worth via the mirror‑image of the sister art. Apart from "Walter Sickert: A Conversation" and "Recent Paintings by Vanessa Bell", the multiplicity of essays dedicated or referring to painting shows that Woolf was deeply inspired and moved by this art which she thought of in terms of the unreachable and much desired medium, at the same time feeling the need to reassert the superiority of language. This was grounded in a primary experience, that of her relationship to Vanessa and the sharing of the arts between the two sisters on the conversational mode.

Anne‑Sophie LE BAIL

Woolf's Dialogue with the New Sciences

In this paper I will argue that Woolf's narrative strategies in her short stories, especially the distance with which she describes reality, have been influenced by the scientific and philosophical context of her time. Indeed, Russell wrote about the multiperspectival nature of reality which included empty and occupied perspectives, the former implying an absent but potential observer. Besides, astron200 omy developed fully in the early twentieth century as scientists like Jeans and Hubble explored the limits of the universe thanks to the evolving technology. One often has the impression that reality in Woolf's short fiction is depicted by a distant narrator who seems to be looking at the external world through a telescope, a powerful device which also helps to look back in time, sometimes plunging the reader in a ghostly atmosphere.

Christine REYNIER

Conversation Redefined: Notes on "A Dialogue upon Mount Pentelicus".

This paper offers a close reading of "A Dialogue upon Mount Pentelicus" and argues that in this short fiction Woolf goes beyond the satirical intent and redefines conversation as Greek art, an art deprived of all superfluous detail and narration, rhythmical and impersonal. She thus turns conversation into a theoretical model for her own fiction.

Christine FROULA

The Play in the Sky of the Mind: Dialogue, "the Tchekov method", and Between the Acts

"The Play in the Sky of the Mind: Dialogue, 'the Tchekov method', and Between the Acts" explores the way Woolf's last novel develops and deepens a Chekhovian poetics of dialogue that first emerges in Jacob's Room (1922). Woolf theorizes this poetics in a 1927 essay that poses Hemingway's short stories in light of the French and Russian masters: Chekhov, Merimee, Maupassant. There she describes "the Tchekov method" in stories that "move slowly out of sight like clouds in the summer air, leaving a wake of meaning in our minds which gradually fades away". Between the Acts uses this same metaphor for La Trobe's experimental pageant on the eve of World War II as it weaves a greater music from the spectators' voiced and unvoiced dialogue before, during, and between the acts and that of the actors onstage. This paper analyzes Woolf's use of "the Tchekov method" to capture a music beyond the reach of sound and considers its resonances for the future of a world at war.