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Title: Musical forms and aesthetics in the works of Virginia Woolf
Author: Crapoulet, Emilie
ISNI:       0000 0001 3395 5960
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2007
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At a moment when Modernist artists manifest a widespread concern with interdisciplinary aesthetic experiences, Virginia Woolf draws her inspiration from music as she seeks to transcend the boundaries of her own art in order to redefine and create new forms of literary expression. Even though a very small number of critics have recognized the fact that music in Virginia Woolf's works is more than just a detail or an occasional background element, no comprehensive study of her musical aesthetics has yet been attempted. After investigating in Chapter I the modalities of Woolf's life-long interest in music and the role of music in her aesthetics of literature, we examine in more detail Woolfs aesthetics of music in Chapters 2 and 3, by giving a close reading of one of her short stories, 'The String Quartet'. In an analysis which brings into play some of the more fundamental problems which many philosophers of music are currently concerned with, we show that in this text, Woolf explores with great lucidity and insight the entire spectrum of the ways music makes meaning, from the relation it bears to the consciousness, the imagination, language and literary expression, to its potential ontological, transcendental and paradigmatical function. This clears the ground for a study of the actual method of her musicalization of the novels themselves in Chapters 4 and 5. We focus in particular on the more experimental narrative strategies Woolf adopts in The Waves and Mrs Dalloway in order to show how music in Virginia Woolf's works is an essential dynamic, structural and aesthetic force which permeates the whole fabric of her art. Crossing the boundaries between literary scholarship and musicology, this dissertation also seeks to bring to light the many assumptions interdisciplinary scholars unwittingly make about the nature of musical expression and meaning in their analyses of musicalized fiction. In our reassessment of the established melopoetic typologies, we are finally led to propose an alternative approach to the study of Modernist musicalized fiction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available