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URN etd-0910107-152600
Author YI-HSUAN LAI
Author's Email Address No Public.
Statistics This thesis had been viewed 5354 times. Download 2318 times.
Department Foreign Language and Literature
Year 2006
Semester 2
Degree Master
Type of Document
Language English
Title The Poetics of Mourning in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse
Date of Defense 2007-07-30
Page Count 88
Keyword
  • stream-of-consciousness
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Mrs. Dalloway
  • To the Lighthouse
  • mourning
  • Freud
  • Kristeva
  • Abstract This thesis is focused on Virginia Woolf’s mourning in her Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse based on the theory of the work of mourning. Since Freud’s grounding essay, “Mourning and Melancholia” first appeared in 1918, numerous critics, like John Bowlby and Therese Rando, have followed Freud’s path to study the process of the work of mourning. Julia kristeva also proposes “the sublimatory hold over the lost Thing” as a way of curbing mourning. In To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf restarts her work of mourning, which she fails when her mother, Julia Stephen dies. Woolf writes down and expresses her memories and affections of her mother through her fictional surrogate, Lily Briscoe. Through Lily’s completion of her painting in the end of the novel, Woolf also completes her own work, not only the work of art but also her belated work of mourning. The reason that Woolf writes about her work of mourning in a belated time is that she has not find an appropriate voice of her own to speak out her mind. It is until the creation of Mrs. Dalloway, in which she experiments with the technique of stream-of-consciousness, that Woolf finds a voice of her own. As a result, after the composition of Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf starts her work of mourning in To the Lighthouse.
       The first chapter begins with an introduction to the theories of mourning and Robert Humsphrey’s theory of the techniques of stream-of-consciousness in modern novel. The second chapter is the discussion of Mrs. Dalloway. By means of her experiment of the new technique of narration, Woolf is able to reveal her belief of the work of mourning through the doubling of the sane Clarissa Dalloway and the insane Septimus, that any suppression of the work of mourning may cause insanity. The third chapter explains how Woolf restarts her belated work of mourning in To the Lighthouse. Since some of the plots of the novel derive from Woolf’s own experiences, verbalizing her past is Woolf’s first step of her work of mourning. Moreover, Woolf expresses her feelings and sentiments for her mother, represented as Mrs. Ramsay, through Lily Briscoe, the surrogate mourner in the novel. By means of the technique of stream-of-consciousness, Woolf is able to speak out her true thoughts about her mother through Lily’s observation of Mrs. Ramsay. Therefore, in the end of the novel, Woolf and her surrogate, Lily, are finally able to finish their own work of art and of mourning as the story ends. In the last chapter, I suggest that Woolf’s new invention of the technique of stream-of-consciousness as her own voice in Mrs. Dalloway initiates her next novel, To the Lighthouse. This is why Woolf restarts her work of mourning of her mother three decades later—because she is finally able to speak of her own.
    Advisory Committee
  • Shu-Fang Lai - chair
  • Jen-Yi Hsu - co-chair
  • Yuan-Jung Cheng - advisor
  • Files
  • etd-0910107-152600.pdf
  • indicate in-campus access immediately and off_campus access in a year
    Date of Submission 2007-09-10

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