HENA01153U English - Elective subject 3: Virginia Woolf and Her Influence on Contemporary Writers

Volume 2013/2014
Virginia Woolf and her Followers

Readings and discussions of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and Michel Cunningham's The Hours (2006) and of Woolf's To the Lighthouse (1927) and Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping (2004). Virginia Woolf is one of the greatest innovators in fiction. Her "stream of consciousness" narrative technique and sharp, precise as well as poetic prose are characteristic of her as a modernist writer. Mrs Dalloway recounts one day in the life of Mrs Dalloway and at the same time the novel succeeds in giving a multifaceted portrayal of Clarissa Dalloway's thoughts, feelings and experiences from youth to middle age. Juxtaposed with Mrs Dalloway's story is the story of the shell-shocked Septimus Warren Smith. Cunningham's retelling of Mrs Dalloway has the title The Hours (the original title of Mrs Dalloway) and focuses on Virginia Woolf's life, thoughts and writing juxtaposed with a woman in Los Angeles in the 1940's and a woman in the 1990's in Greenwich, New York, who – like Woolf's Clarissa Dalloway – is buying flowers for a party to celebrate a dying friend. Cunningham's novel is a moving and convincing readaptation of Woolf's classical novel, recounting the lives of three individual women in the context of their times. Woolf's To the Lighthouse is i.a. a recreation of Woolf's parents in Mr and Mrs Ramsay and it contains a fictional female painter, Lily Briscoe, who is struggling to believe in her own vision against male opposition and the norms for women in the 1920's. Lighthousekeeping is related to Woolf's novel in its title and has parallel features of a lyrical, poetic style but thematically it is different from To the Lighthouse – a mixture of fairy-tale and a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story in the figure of Babel Dark. It is a postmodernist and existential text.
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7,5 ECTS
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