War in Virginia Woolf's fictional and non-fictional works

Salih, Iqbal Mahdi (2015) War in Virginia Woolf's fictional and non-fictional works. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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This thesis argues that Virginia Woolf can be seen as essentially a ‗war-writer‘; the impact on her imagination, evident in both her fiction and non-fictional writing, of the First World War was profound. However, the sense of insecurity and anxiety which the war instills in Woolf, present directly in her portrayal of the tragedies of Jacob Flanders (Jacob‟s Room), Septimus Warren Smith (Mrs. Dalloway), and Andrew Ramsay (To the Lighthouse), never really goes away. The insecurities of 1930s, in particular the Spanish Civil War, in which her nephew Julian Bell was killed, are also present in Woolf‘s writing and the fear of a new war means that her anxieties, vulnerability of Civilisation, continue until her death by suicide in 1941. One could indeed argue that Woolf was herself a victim of war. The thesis argues that fundamental aspects of Woolf‘s writing are related to the presence throughout her adult life of the threat of War: her continued concern with gender has its roots in her seeing the First War and the likelihood of future conflict as being due to the prevailing dominance of masculinity, of ‗subconscious Hitlerism‘; the post-1918 sense of insecurity of values, of what was ‗real‘, demands from her a new mode of narrative. In other words, her famous urging of novelists to ‗look within‘ has its origins in her sense of the outer world of the Post-War years as insecure and ‗unreal‘ and that sense of unreality continues through the 1930s, as evident in her non-fiction. This study consists of four chapters. It opens with an introduction that concentrates on the Bloomsbury Group, its attitudes towards the state, politics and war; it shows also Woolf‘s pacifist views towards war. In the First and Second chapters Virginia Woolf‘s response to the First World War and its aftermath is discussed, including discussion of the social effects of the war, new social attitudes in the post-war period and how Woolf responds to the war and its impact in her novels, essays, diaries and letters. The war itself is dealt with through analysing four of Woolf‘s novels written in the post war period: Jacob‟s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and The Waves. Like Virginia Woolf herself, the characters of these novels suffer the horror of the war and its consequences, a suffering that can be seen in Woolf‘s combatant and non-combatant characters.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of English Literature
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2015 11:02
Last Modified: 18 May 2016 08:12
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/4741
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