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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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Travesty in Woolf and Proust

Travesty in Woolf and Proust

Chapter:
(p.259) Travesty in Woolf and Proust
Source:
Contradictory Woolf
Author(s):

John Coyle

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.003.0032

This chapter places Virginia Woolf in conversation with Marcel Proust by reading passages from À la recherche du temps perdu alongside Jacob's Room and Orlando, as well as Woolf's letters and diary entries on Proust. There is what might be called a Proustian moment in Chapter 7 of Jacob's Room, but it is not really a Proustian moment, more a travesty of one. In describing how the whole of the Combray of the narrator's childhood emerges from a cup of tea, Proust deploys a conceit whose success depends on a flirtation with the bathetic and grotesque. Disproportion and the possibility of comic deflation are never far away when Proust is in this mood, especially in metaphors of transformation and creation. Proust's metaphor, like the novel itself for Woolf at the time, relegated to the order of gossip. Whether through a “Proustian moment” or a “travesty of one,” the chapter here suggests that both Woolf and Proust show a fascination with time, sexuality, and “metaphorical flights”.

Keywords:   metaphor, Marcel Proust, Jacob's Room, Orlando, travesty, time, sexuality, metaphorical flights

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