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Virginia Woolf: Writing the World$
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Pamela L. Caughie and Diana L. Swanson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780990895800

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.001.0001

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date: 15 December 2017

The Bodies In/Are The Waves

The Bodies In/Are The Waves

Chapter:
(p.154) The Bodies In/Are The Waves
Source:
Virginia Woolf: Writing the World
Author(s):

Michael Tratner

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780990895800.003.0021

In her essay “On Being Ill,” Virginia Woolf indicates that she saw the power of the body to shape consciousness as undermining what literature had generally presented. This essay suggests that The Waves is structured to make us feel that unending procession of physical changes. The interludes provide a time sequence that seems utterly natural and the sections between the interludes mark stages in the lives of characters that have no relation to any plans in the lives of those characters; the only “plot” of these stages seems to be that of moving in accord with the physical flow of time. The interludes gradually become a set of metaphors that define each section of the book as a stage in those six human lives and those stages of the six lives then appear to be waves that flow as a result of natural forces, not human choices or historical events. The Waves thus constitutes an attempt to address the new concepts of localized biology contemporary to Woolf, concepts which contradicted the longstanding Western idea of the unified mind in a controllable body.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill, The Waves, Body, Neuroscience, Localization, Inhibition, Masculinity, Androgyny

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