L'idée de monde de la vie et la représentation du réel dans la fiction tardive de Virginia Woolf

Abstract : Mainly analysed as a return to the realist aesthetics of her first novels, Virginia Woolf’s late fiction stands in stark contrast with her “high modernist” works of the 1920s. The present study suggests that such a reorientation is best understood when looked at through the lens of mimesis: the change affecting Woolf’s late fiction has to do with the representation of reality and with its alterations at the turn of the 1930s. Indeed, whereas texts like Mrs Dalloway or To the Lighthouse defined reality as the internalisation of the world, sieved through the consciousnesses of fictional characters, Woolf’s late fiction reverses this process by exporting the self directly to the outside world of things and events. Moreover, our intuition is that this unprecedented displacement, which comes to define Virginia Woolf’s last works, is to be compared with a philosophical concept emerging at the same time: Edmund Husserl’s Lifeworld. The Lifeworld, or Lebenswelt, theorised by Husserl in his last work, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, provides a conceptual framework in which the externalisation of subjectivity and its shaping of the outside world become conceivable. In this respect, Woolf and Husserl’s contemporary conceptions of reality appear particularly close. Our aim, however, is not to use the concept as a key for the text – nor will we analyse Woolf’s fiction from a philosophical standpoint. Instead of this, we intend to set up an “intertextual” dialogue between the often opposing principles of literature and philosophy: the Lifeworld, far from solving the questions raised by Woolf’s texts, is better conceived of as a catalyst destined to expose the underlying logic of Woolf’s late fiction. We thus take Husserl’s Lifeworld into account only inasmuch as its analysis paves the way for the discovery of Woolf’s own Lifeworld.
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Xavier Le Brun. L'idée de monde de la vie et la représentation du réel dans la fiction tardive de Virginia Woolf. Littératures. Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017MON30020⟩. ⟨tel-01695583⟩

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