Title"Not regularly musical"
NameManhire, Vanessa (author), DeKoven, Marianna (chair), Williams, Carolyn (internal member), Edwards, Brent (internal member), Silver, Brenda (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
Music in literature,
Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionWhile the visual arts have long been a focus of inquiry in Woolf criticism, attention has only recently been drawn to the potential influence of music--a fact which is all the more surprising since in her letters Woolf claimed "I think of all my books as music before I write them" (L6 426) and discussed her desire "to investigate the influence of music on literature" (L6 450). Woolf's acknowledged interest in interdisciplinary approaches to literature, her love of music, and her assumed position as a "common listener" rather than an expert, make her the ideal subject for a study of literary writing about music. This study has two overlapping focuses: Woolf's thoughts about the relationship between music and literature, and the variety of ways in which she represents the activities of making and listening to music in her writings, both fiction and non-fiction. My dissertation argues that Woolf's changing thinking about music affects both the form and content of her entire oeuvre.
Chapter One looks at Woolf's early essays on musical topics, arguing that her investigations into the nature and status of music as an art form played an important part in the formation of her own literary project. Chapter Two focuses on her representations of women musicians and scenes of musical performance in her early fiction. Woolf's depictions of music as a medium which appeals simultaneously to interiority and exteriority indicate its direct influence on her development of stream-of-consciousness narrative techniques. Chapter Three shows that the preponderance of criticism which dubs Woolf's novels "musical" in form actually ignores the vexed questions of voice and form implicit in Woolf's own novelistic representations of song: the lyric interruptions caused by such musical scenes serve not to symbolize, but rather to disturb, the idea of formal unity. Chapter Four looks at the increasingly complex figurations of music in Woolf's late work alongside the rhetoric of the English Folk Revival: Woolf both responds to new sound technologies and interrogates the vexed concepts of English history and national identity.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 243-256)
Noteby Vanessa Manhire
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.