Concepts of Time in To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

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In the city, he crosses paths with a variety of other minor characters with whom he interacts or whom he simply observes: a pornography publisher, tennis players, museum goers, tourists, a TV presenter, his eldest son, neighbours, and some bank robbers his bank is robbed while he is standing in line. On that Monday, July 31 st , he embarks on a bizarre odyssey around London, doing various sad, strange or aimless things.

Physical movement while roaming around the city be it on the train, on the bus, or on foot is favourable to the production of thoughts. For example, on the bus he is assailed by a multitude of memories, either compressed fleeting thoughts or expanded lengthy digressions. Like Mrs Dalloway , Mr Phillips is a London novel in which the author establishes interconnections between the external and the internal.

Mr Phillips is a popular, socially and linguistically updated Mrs Dalloway : the life of the upper-class hostess Clarissa Dalloway becomes the life of an accountant with a mortgage and no job, and his story and situation are expressed in a common, everyday language peppered with slang and jokes. Phillips ruminates about trivial, domestic details or metaphysical experiences with the same observant and insightful force. He spends a great deal of his time observing and musing about sex, death, love, and life, these thoughts sometimes being a source of epiphanies.

Revelations come from various rants in which he gauges possibilities and probabilities. He ruminates on practically everything most of the time in mathematical terms and comes to conclusions. These conclusions have the role of private illuminations in which the moment is arrested, dissected and magnified. Memories and past incursions defy and slow down the relentless procession of chronological time: hour after hour exhausts the day little by little, with narrative reminders of the clock time. Unlike Lippincott, Lanchester does not engage a direct dialogue with Woolf and his novel does not urgently depend on Mrs Dalloway.


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Clarissa Dalloway migrates into the twenty-first century and is undeniably reincarnated as Victor Philips who borrows from and capitalises on her aura. As the character of Clarissa Dalloway has entered our collective knowledge, she continues to migrate and engender other versions of herself, characters who more or less resemble her. In the process of migration across texts, the character acquires new identities anchored in new narrative environments and literary trends.

Besides, even when there is not a remote onomastic relationship left between the characters and when the Woolfian fabric wears thin, there are still perceptible, inherent characteristics that endure in order to perpetuate the Dalloway-esque legacy. While modernist writers like Virginia Woolf were concerned with inventing story worlds with original tools, postmodernists and neo-modernist writers in the wake of Woolf focus on the unmaking and remaking of these worlds, building parallel or possible fictional worlds to contain her old characters or creating new ones in their image, while borrowing and extending her innovative technique.

In our current cultural and aesthetic environment, in which nostalgia for the past 33 is perceptible in the proliferation of retro fashion, tribute albums and film remakes, fiction is also naturally oriented towards such issues of recycling. Creating new works from old ones implies re-reading past works created with specific formal devices and inhabited by memorable characters, re-writing and re-contextualising them. Barthes, Roland. La Chambre claire, note sur la photographie. Paris: Gallimard, Chatman, Seymour. James Phelan and Peter J.

Oxford: Blackwell, Dick, Susan, ed. Dalloway in Bond Street. London: Harcourt, Heterocosmica: Fiction and Possible Worlds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, Dousteyssier-Khoze Catherine.

Virginia Woolf's sense of time

Bern: Peter Lang, Eco, Umberto. Confessions of a Young Novelist. Cambridge: Harvard UP, Lector in Fabula. Paris: Grasset, Evans, William A.

Virginia Woolf: Strategist of Language. Lanham: UP of America, Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree. Lincoln: University of Nebraska P, Girard, Monica. Vanessa Guignery. Re- Mapping London. Visions of the Metropolis in the Contemporary Novel in English. Paris: Publibook, Georges Letissier. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Lanchester, John. Mr Phillips. London: Penguin, Latham, Monica. London: Palgrave, La Fabrique du texte.

Lippincott, Robin. Mr Dalloway. Louisville: Sarabande Books, Margolin, Uri. Calin-Andrei Mihailescu and Walid Harmarneh. Toronto: Toronto UP, McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction. London: Routledge: McNichol, Stella, ed. London: Vintage, Richardson, Brian. Berlin: De Gruyter, Ryan, Marie-Laure. Saint-Gelais, Richard. Schiff, James. Shakespeare, William. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, Ugresic, Dubravka. Lend Me Your Character. London: Dalkey Archive P, Woolf, Virginia. Between the Acts. Andrew McNeillie. The Diary of Virginia Woolf.

Anne Olivier Bell. The Essays of Virginia Woolf. Jeanne Schulkind. New York: Harcourt, The Voyage Out. Wussow, Helen.

Collections – Séries – Revues

New York: Pace UP, They discuss terms such as possible worlds, transfictionality, versioning, and postmodern rewrites. See the concept of transfictionality proposed by Richard Saint-Gelais in A charming hostess? Yes —she is all these things; but these things are unimportant. Who is Septimus Warren Smith? An ex-soldier suffering from shell shock?

Three more from Virginia Woolf

But he is also something much more significant. For Clarissa and Septimus and Peter and Dr. Woolf herself gave the clue to the above assertion. Let us see what that means—that Clarissa and Septimus are the same. In the novel they never meet; they merely exist together in London up to a certain moment and then Septimus flings himself out of his window and the news of the disaster almost by accident reaches Clarissa in the middle of her party.

1 Introduction

How can they be the same when Septimus dies and Clarissa lives? They can not, to be sure, if we insist on taking them as individuals; but Mrs. If, then, we think of Clarissa and Septimus as embodiments of the inner force of life, what do we find? We find, first of all, that these two are complementary: that Clarissa is, let us say, positive; Septimus negative. Clarissa loves life and, although she has moments of doubt, accepts it; Septimus hates it and fears it and ultimately rejects it. Clarissa, in spite of her introspection, is almost wholly turned outward, her energies directed into enthusiasms for people, for things flowers, traffic, clothes , for London; Septimus is turned inward, isolated, afraid.

She accepts. Clarissa accepts life and goes on with it; Septimus rejects it and runs away. Just as love and hate—so we are told—are not two different emotions, but merely different expressions of the same emotion, so the acceptance and the rejection of life are only two connected versions of the same fundamental relationship between man and existence.

"Time, Memory, and Consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, To " by Nicole Olivotti

There was an embrace in death. But Mrs. Around this central combination of Clarissa and Septimus, Mrs. Woolf groups other people, each given a proper name, but each, in reality, representing what may be described as a variation on the theme. For each of these discloses a different way in which human nature faces the mystery of existence. Miss Kilman has embraced religion; Elizabeth, just emerging from adolescence, wants purpose; Peter Walsh seeks adventure and love; Dr. Clearly individualized if not externalized as each of these is, it must be understood that they merely serve to fill out the composite picture.

Almost all humanity lives by trying to solve the riddle—not by merely accepting or rejecting it, for unable to be satisfied with the simplicity of either acceptance or rejection, people must continually escape into the illusion of accomplishment. And to Clarissa-Septimus they are all obnoxious. Bradshaw is the best single illustration of this point, for it is Dr. Septimus and Clarissa will have none of it. And each in his own way triumphs over the perversion that the Doctor represents. All these others, each in his own fashion, display some kind of tampering. Taken together with Dr.

Bradshaw they are those forces in human nature that will neither accept life whole as Clarissa did nor give it up as Septimus did. They must always make some fuss about it and end in unhappiness. Only Clarissa and Septimus know the road to happiness; but it is the irony of Mrs. Woolf has sought to capture the symbolic Mrs. Brown of the essay.

We are given the pattern of human nature with its manifold details brought into focus. The novel is, as its author insisted, self-contained; there is no purpose in it unless that be called purpose which is only the desire to understand. Even Dr. But, one may ask, what about sex? Does it not belong in the design?

Woolf must answer, of course, that it does. But since she is not dealing with individuals, she is not concerned with case-studies. Sex, therefore, does not become for her a special interest. Clarissa, for example, being an embodiment of the accepting love of life, also accepts sex as one who understands it and does not fight or encourage it. Woolf does not believe in. The sexual characteristics are not so easily catalogued; male and female, like hate and love, are only two phases of the same thing and not clearly distinguishable one from the other.

Indeed, since science has shown that life is not made up of creatures that can be guaranteed one hundred per cent male or one hundred per cent female, a novelist dealing with life itself, as distinct from an externalized character, must show how masculine and feminine, as in Septimus and Clarissa, merge and intermingle. This interest in double sex is a recurrent one in Mrs. Woolf narrows down her field to one all-important factor: the discovery of what it is that gives to the design its sense of reality.

Having already denied that reality lies in external details, she now denounces another Edwardian principle—that concept of time by which an object is at one moment presumably the same as it is at another moment. Ramsay is for Lily a more powerful experience and a more positively influential one than was Mrs. Ramsay, in destroying the tyranny of time, such a comment states only half the truth.

For we must ask the same question here that we did with the preceding novel: Who is this Mrs. Petulant critics have complained that Mrs.

Virginia Woolf

Ramsay, though one knows she is the wife of a scholar, has a large family of children, spends the summer in the Hebrides, and entertains there a conglomerate house-party, is not flesh and blood. Of course not! She is not intended to be corporeal. She is light; she is spirit; she is an undying though she dies spell. She is not Hilda Lessways; she is a luminosity whose rays, like those of dead stars, shine on into eternity. Woolf has used the personality of Mrs.

It is this truth that young James Ramsay discovers. The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye that opened suddenly and softly in the evening. James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the whitewashed rocks; the tower stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could see washing on the rocks to dry.

No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other was the Lighthouse too. It was sometimes hardly to be seen across the bay. Nothing has happened except that both James and Lily have become integrated. Ramsay, too, and Mr. Ramsay lives again among them. They both exist and fulfill each other. It is only by discovering her—that is, discovering the existence of some inner, unknown force that runs through our lives, that connects the supposedly unconnected, makes design out of that which, without it, has no order, spans time, illuminates the conscious with signals flashing from the subconscious as from an unseen lighthouse, destroys the error of discreteness and establishes the truth of the relative whole —that humanity solves the mystery of life.

She waved her hand, going up Shaftesbury Avenue. She was all that. So that to know her, or any one, one must seek out the people who completed them; even the places.

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Odd affinities she had with people she had never spoken to, some woman in the street, some man behind a counter—even trees, or barns. Although more people have bought it than have bought any other of her works, nine out of every ten readers have missed its point; the critics, for the most part, have floundered sadly in bewildered efforts to explain it, or fallen back in defeat upon eulogies of its poetic style. The literary form is an admittedly stylized one—a series of soliloquies in a language that bears no relation to the phrasing actually used in speech.

The characters at first glance number six with a shadowy seventh adored by the others.

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