Feminism and the Quest for Selfhood in Virginia Woolf’s Fiction and Nonfiction: A Case Study of Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and A Room of One’s Own (1929)
The following dissertation studies feminism and the quest for selfhood in Virginia Woolf’s fiction and nonfiction: Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and A Room of One’s Own (1929). It demonstrates how resistance to tyranny in a male-dominated society can lead Woolf’s female characters to the quest for affirming their identity through their disruption of the patriarchal traditional discourse. This research relies on Josephine Donavan’s Feminist Theory: The Intellectual Traditions of American Feminism (1992) in which she studies the concept of class-consciousness that raises against the ideology of the ruling class. In other words, it is through Woolf’s female character’ confessions that we understand Marx’s concepts of “governing ideology” in The German Ideology. The outline of this study comprises a discussion of four important sections that include: Woolf’s cultural context and origins, patriarchy and the quest for the self in Mrs. Dalloway (1925), otherness and cultural marginality in To the Lighthouse (1927), and feminism and selfhood in A Room of One’s Own (1929). The final conclusion that can be drawn from this study shows Woolf’s feminist commitment in both fiction and nonfiction. Her aim is the construction of the feminine identity through a self-destruction of the masculine dominion and patriarchy and the rehumanization of the British woman. This assumption has been demonstrated and consolidated in the thematic analysis of Woolf’s sociological essay A Room of One’s Own which demonstrates her feminist stance. I close my dissertation with a suggestion that both Woolf’s fiction and nonfiction can be read as a feminist approach to women liberation.
- Département d'Anglais