All entries for Sunday 18 June 2006
June 18, 2006
Writing about web page http://arts.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1779342,00.html
See the above article by Martin Kettle, which suggests some worrying political trends regarding cultural value and the funding of the arts.
'This idea struck me: the army is the body: I am the brain. Thinking is my fighting.' (From Woolf's diary).
This is a great image. The first idea of 'the army is the body' evokes the embodied self as a swarm of tiny fighting men. The body seems to disintegrate into the individuals that make up the whole army. There is a kind of jostling, yet also a collective purpose. The body is deadly, aggressive, hostile.
Woolf views herself as existing in the soft material of the brain. There is a sense of withdrawal, interiority. Yet this too can be hostile because thinking is Woolf's fighting. How does this relate to women novelists' interior realism and the psychoanalytical idea of the unconscious (Laing)?
'The Flesh of Spectators: the Self–Conscious Flâneuse in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Rhysí Good Morning Midnight'. Woolfian Boundaries. University of Birmingham (22nd – 25th June 2006).
The purpose of this paper is to explore R.D. Laing’s portryal of the self–conscious subject in relation to the heroines of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Jean Rhysí Good Morning Midnight. I begin by commenting on the interior realism that has dominated many women novelists in the twentieth century and the backlash against the Angel in the House or feminine perfection. I briefly survey Laing’s definition of self–consciousness and consequently proceed to analysis of the key texts. The perambulatory heroines of Mrs Dalloway and Sasha are tied by a number of key elements that refer to Laing’s self–consciousness: the expectation of a critical gaze, self–interrogation, confusion about the value or legitimacy of one’s own being and fear of the penetration of one’s identity. I compare the different versions of self–consciousness in Woolf and Rhys and I explore why Mrs Dalloway escapes self–consciousness but Sasha does not. Finally, I address the irony of the characters’ creation as objects for consumption and I argue that the abject presentation of these women is subversive and useful for feminist questioning of what it is to be a woman.