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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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Kinetic Tropes, Comedic Turns

Kinetic Tropes, Comedic Turns

Dancing To the Lighthouse

(p.122) Kinetic Tropes, Comedic Turns
Contradictory Woolf

Janet Winston

Liverpool University Press

This chapter offers a kinetic reading of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse inspired by dance. More specifically, it discusses the ways that To the Lighthouse depends upon movement for its effect, thereby making it a “kinetic art.” To the Lighthouse deals with ephemerality and shares a preoccupation associated with dance. A focus on what Randy Martin calls “the kinesthesia of daily life” reveals Woolf's reliance on descriptions of movement to delineate character, create narrative tension, and construct ontological and epistemological oppositions that underlie To the Lighthouse. The chapter explores To the Lighthouse's concern with “temporal movement” in relation to the movement of the thinking mind. It considers descriptions of body language and locomotion as characters go about their business, as well as the characters' and the reader's sensate experience of motion achieved by Woolf's use of imagery and metaphor, and by changes in prose tempo—a kind of literary kinesthesia.

Keywords:   dance, To the Lighthouse, kinetic art, ephemerality, kinesthesia, temporal movement, body language, locomotion, imagery

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