"Making room" for one's own : Virginia Woolf and technology of place
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This thesis offers an analysis of selected works by Virginia Woolf through the theoretical framework of technology of place. The term “technology”, meaning both a finished product and an ongoing production process, a mode of concealment and unconcealment in Martin Heidegger’s sense, is used as part of this thesis’s argument that place can be understood through constant negotiations of concrete place perceived through the senses, a concept based on the Heideggerian notion of “earth”, and abstract place perceived in the imagination, a concept based on the Heideggerian notion of “world”. The term “technology of place”, coined by Irvin C. Schick in The Erotic Margin: Sexuality and Spatiality in Alteritist Discourse (1999), is appropriated and re-interpreted as part of this thesis’s adoption and adaptation of Woolf’s notion of ideal biographical writing as an amalgamation of “granite” biographical facts and “rainbow” internal life. Woolf’s granite and rainbow dichotomy is used as a foreground to this thesis’s proposed theoretical framework, through which questions of space/place can be examined. My analysis of Flush (1933) demonstrates that place is a technology which can be taken at face value and, at the same time, appropriated to challenge the ideology of its construction. My analysis of Orlando (1928) demonstrates that Woolf’s idea of utopia exemplifies the technological “coming together”, in Heidegger’s term, of concrete social reality and abstract artistic fantasy. My analysis of The Years (1937) demonstrates that sense of place as well as sense of identity is ambivalent and constantly changing like the weather, reflecting place’s Janus-faced function as both concealment and unconcealment. Lastly, my analysis of Woolf’s selected essays and marginalia illustrates that writing can serve as a revolutionary “place-making” technology through which one can mentally “make room” for (re-)imagining the lives of “the obscure”, often placed in oblivion throughout the course of history.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic copy restricted until 6th February 2018
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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