Virginia Woolf: Embodiment and Novel Experiments
230 5th Avenue
(corner of 5th & President)
Brooklyn, NY 11215
In an essay called “Flying Over London,” Virginia Woolf imagines herself as a passenger on an airplane passing over the city. Her imagined journey becomes an occasion to think about both the lures of a fixed, constant subjectivity and the shifting currents of an unstable modernity. This fraught relationship with the self (and the flight from it) offers a crystalline lens through which to view Woolf’s experiments in writing and thinking the subject.
In this course, we will examine the tensions within Woolf’s work between the modern longing for a disembodied, impersonal mode of experience and the realist imperative to represent the truths of the body (desire, violent feeling, boredom, illness, etc.). How does this pressure express itself in Woolf’s fiction? In what ways was Woolf’s dismantling of the self in conversation with other modernist forms and theories of subjectivity? And what new possibilities of representation and resistance do her novel experiments offer her readers? We will take up these questions and others via two of Woolf’s novels—Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927)—alongside a number of supplementary essays drawn from the fields of literary criticism, philosophy, and aesthetics.
Course ScheduleSunday, 6:30-9:30pm
July 10 — July 31, 2016