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    She was a female author who broke the boundaries of female literature? I think particularly at the time in the 20's. Does literature need a point though? :iiam:
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    She was a pioneer of the stream of conciousness literary movement.
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    I've read Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando, and I didn't particularly enjoy either of them. I read somewhere that her style can be regarded as 'experimental literature'.. if so, then unfortunately I am not a fan!
    and stream of consciousness = eugh
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    She was a pioneer of the stream of conciousness literary movement.
    The only reason Virginia Woolf is famous is because she is female. Her male contemporaries were far superior, and her feminist credentials are weak at best. Anyway, stream of conciousness is a literary motif found typically found in modernist literature; it is not a "movement".
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    Virginia Woolf was a feminist and she was also part of the Modernist tradition where authors wanted to break free from the styles of the Realist tradition because they felt that literature from the tradition was artificial and not a true representation of reality. Virginia Woolf tries to show this in her writing because with stream of consciousness, it tries to mirror the idea that our thought patterns do not come out in a structured way. In "To the Lighthouse" for instance, the novel is broken and fragmented because she wanted to show how the war had fractured society and broken it. Woolf also believed and tried to emphasise that if the female is to be independent then they have to murder the traits of the "angel in the house" to ensure that they can achieve a productive and active role in society and compete with the male sex.

    I hope this post helps.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    The only reason Virginia Woolf is famous is because she is female. Her male contemporaries were far superior, and her feminist credentials are weak at best. Anyway, stream of conciousness is a literary motif found typically found in modernist literature; it is not a "movement".
    No, she is famous because she was a great writer. You may think her male contemporaries were superior but this is not a widely held view. But I agree with you about the 'movement' - I was in a rush when I wrote the comment.
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    I love the novel. It's basically a fragmented stream of conciousness of various characters. Although the reader is mostly aware of Septimus Smith and Clarissa, it is also made clear that neither have a transcedent vantage point. Pioneer of post-modernism I would think
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    (Original post by evantej)
    The only reason Virginia Woolf is famous is because she is female. Her male contemporaries were far superior, and her feminist credentials are weak at best. Anyway, stream of conciousness is a literary motif found typically found in modernist literature; it is not a "movement".
    Name me writers before Woolf who used the style of a stream of conciousness so effectively? You probably can't. You probably don't have sufficient knowledge in literature, even. Which "male contemporaries" were superior, may I ask? That's subjective anyway.
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    (Original post by 35mm_)
    Name me writers before Woolf who used the style of a stream of conciousness so effectively? You probably can't. You probably don't have sufficient knowledge in literature, even. Which "male contemporaries" were superior, may I ask? That's subjective anyway.
    It is ironic that you immediately criticise my knowledge of literature when I challenge Woolf's legacy. You could have simply checked my profile to see that I am an English student...

    Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Proust, Eliot and Joyce used stream of conciousness more effectively. In terms of modernism itself I would suggest that Forster, Hemingway, Kafka and Lawrence produced far better work too. This is by no means exhaustive either...
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    (Original post by evantej)
    It is ironic that you immediately criticise my knowledge of literature when I challenge Woolf's legacy. You could have simply checked my profile to see that I am an English student...

    Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Proust, Eliot and Joyce used stream of conciousness more effectively. In terms of modernism itself I would suggest that Forster, Hemingway, Kafka and Lawrence produced far better work too. This is by no means exhaustive either...
    Where does Dostoevsky use fragmented, with various (sometimes 6/7 or more) different characters, stream of conciousness? Which novel? And I've read the majority of his works.

    And for the others, you can't compare the two techniques in relation to Woolf, the way in which they use them are completely different and all produce different effects (upon the reader and its implications).

    I would say that Woolf was indeed a forerunner of British modernism, you may disagree, but as I've said, it's entirely subjective. What I do contest, however, is the fact that you presume she was successful purely because she was women, which is, frankly, an ignorant thing to say. The implication of what you're saying being that women couldn't write as effectively as men and were only successful because they were women, not through the credentials of their writing.
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    (Original post by 35mm_)
    Where does Dostoevsky use fragmented, with various (sometimes 6/7 or more) different characters, stream of conciousness? Which novel? And I've read the majority of his works.

    And for the others, you can't compare the two techniques in relation to Woolf, the way in which they use them are completely different and all produce different effects (upon the reader and its implications).

    I would say that Woolf was indeed a forerunner of British modernism, you may disagree, but as I've said, it's entirely subjective. What I do contest, however, is the fact that you presume she was successful purely because she was women, which is, frankly, an ignorant thing to say. The implication of what you're saying being that women couldn't write as effectively as men and were only successful because they were women, not through the credentials of their writing.
    You ask me to substantiate my claims but as soon as I do you suggest she is "completely different". :rolleyes:

    Dostoevsky used stream of conciousness in Notes from the Underground. You should know this if you have "read the majority of his works".

    You insinuate that I am a misogynist because I criticise Woolf. I do not deny that I believe there are a number of writers whose success is due primarily to their gender; Woolf is one of them. But I can substantiate my claims: you fall back on the same argument again and again; she is incomparable, and you are ignorant, and it is subjective, anyway!
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    (Original post by evantej)
    You ask me to substantiate my claims but as soon as I do you suggest she is "completely different". :rolleyes:
    That doesn't digress from the point. You can still substantiate your claims.
    Dostoevsky used stream of conciousness in Notes from the Underground. You should know this if you have "read the majority of his works".
    Co-incidently, I've just finished reading that today. And as I've said, it was one person's stream of conciousness, not several characters (like Woolf: The Waves, Mrs. Dalloway, for example).
    You insinuate that I am a misogynist because I criticise Woolf. I do not deny that I believe there are a number of writers whose success is due primarily to their gender; Woolf is one of them. But I can substantiate my claims: you fall back on the same argument again and again; she is incomparable, and you are ignorant, and it is subjective, anyway!
    (I didn't actually suggest you were a misogynist, I was contesting the part where you claim that women are only made literary legacies because of their gender, not their writing credentials).

    Well, go on then. Substantiate your claims. Why is she only noted as a great writer because of her gender, and that alone? It obviously can't be due to the fact that she was actually pretty good at writing. :rolleyes:
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    I am not convinced that Notes from Underground uses 'stream of consciousness', and I am not convinced that the only reason for Woolf's fame is her gender and not the quality of her novels.
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    (Original post by 35mm_)
    Co-incidently, I've just finished reading that today. And as I've said, it was one person's stream of conciousness, not several characters (like Woolf: The Waves, Mrs. Dalloway, for example).

    (I didn't actually suggest you were a misogynist, I was contesting the part where you claim that women are only made literary legacies because of their gender, not their writing credentials).

    Well, go on then. Substantiate your claims. Why is she only noted as a great writer because of her gender, and that alone? It obviously can't be due to the fact that she was actually pretty good at writing. :rolleyes:
    I am glad you have just finished Notes from the Underground as it is an excellent novel; I am writing an extended essay on it.

    I find your defence of Virginia Woolf incredibly naive. To suggest her work is incomparable to Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground (or other modernists) because “it was one person's stream of conciousness, not several characters” highlights a lack of critical awareness, and a complete misreading of Notes from the Underground.

    Stream of conciousness is a motif independent of focalization theory; to suggest that Mrs Dalloway is more complex, or incomparable to Notes from the Underground because there are more characters is simply absurd. The latter could not function with more than one narrative voice but that does not make it worse, and I suggest you do not read too literally as there is actually more than one 'voice'; read Bakhtin if you are struggling.

    I did not claim “women are only made literary legacies because of their gender, not their writing credentials”. I was very specific when I said “there are a number of writers whose success is due primarily to their gender; Woolf is one of them”. You assumed I implied all woman but that is not the case. It works both ways, and it affects other areas such as race too. There is a disproportionate amount of men in the canon because of economic and social issues; a number of which have no legitimate reason to be there, and do not stand up to scrutiny. But a feminist backlash has overcompensated, and there are a number of writers who have a significant legacy by virtue of simply being a women writers.

    I will admit that I am an elitist, and you may choose to reject my assertions as subjective but I simply do not rate Woolf, and to mention her in the same breath as Joyce is insulting. But education compensates for contemporary social inequalities. The fact I am studying Felicia Hemans and Charlotte Smith instead of Lord Byron in Romanticism is indicative of the problem.
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    (Original post by scholarshipkid)
    I'm studying Mrs Dalloway by Virgina Woolf at AS Level and i've just started the book. I'm slightly confused however, as to the purpose of her novel? Can anyone shed any light on this for me?

    Also, her books don't seem to be as great as everyone makes out, why is she so highly regarded in English Literature history, I really can not get my head around this!


    OP, if it's not making much sense at the moment I suggest you read 'The Hours' by Michael Cunningham or watch the film of the book starring Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf (she won an oscar for the performance - its a good film). 'Mrs Dalloway' had a huge influence on Cunningham as an author and he explores many of the same themes in this work as the original novel - however, its in a modern idiom and so easier to understand.

    Admittedly Woolf is a difficult author and I can see how her work can seem almost too confusing to warrant spending so much time and energy on - I had the same opinion as you at first but then I found she's one of those authors where you get more out of it the more effort you put in. To be honest though if I hadn't seen the film of The Hours and then read the book I probably wouldn't have enjoyed Mrs Dalloway so much afterwards, so its worth watching.
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    Try to read Virginia Woolf's essay 'Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown'. It explores many of the same ideas as Mrs Dalloway such as breaking the conventions of realist writers (as mentioned above). Instead she places emphasis on 'feeling' - of experiencing the emotions of the characters with them, rather than simply observing them as one would tend to do in realist fiction.

    Woolf also stated that her aim with Mrs Dalloway was tell the story of a woman's life in one day which we clearly see as we follow Clarissa around. She also challenges things like sexuality, war and mental health.

    Like you when I first read Mrs Dalloway I wasn't a fan, but after studying her for half a year at A-Level and again at university I'm a Woolf convert.
 
 
 
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