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Contradictory Woolf$
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Derek Ryan and Stella Bolaki

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780983533955

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.001.0001

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Woolf’s Un/Folding(s)

Woolf’s Un/Folding(s)

The Artist and the Event of the Neo-Baroque

(p.96) Woolf’s Un/Folding(s)
Contradictory Woolf

Laci Mattison

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the question of aesthetics in Virginia Woolf's writing by relating it to Alfred North Whitehead's notion of the “event” and Gilles Deleuze's concept of the “fold” through a reading of Woolf's To the Lighthouse (1927). Deleuze, via Whitehead, proposes four components of the event of the neo-Baroque: extensions, intensions, prehensions, and eternal objects. In The Fold, Deleuze also appropriates Whitehead's definition of the event as a “nexus of prehensions,” in which subjects and objects fold into each other and, in so doing, radicalize individuality as impersonality. The chapter argues that Woolf's writing contains examples of “non-dialectical un/folding(s) of the neo-Baroque” discussed by Deleuze via Whitehead, and where contradiction stands not so much for “notes of dissonance, but as creative, vital moments” in which both Woolf and her artists recognize and affirm “textual and textural incompossibility, the everything-at-once, the unlimited bifurcations of the world”.

Keywords:   aesthetics, Alfred North Whitehead, event, Gilles Deleuze, fold, To the Lighthouse, neo-Baroque, contradiction, The Fold

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