Date of Degree

2-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Nico Israel

Committee Members

Richard Kaye

Tanya Agathocleous

Subject Categories

Literature in English, British Isles

Keywords

Modernist fiction, visionary, Woolf, Lawrence, ordinary, everyday

Abstract

This study is a critical reexamination of descriptions of visionary experiences in the novels of Woolf and Lawrence. Its goal is twofold: first, to demonstrate that the visionary mode, when best practiced by the modernist novelists here discussed, can overcome the ideological liabilities that its supposed individualist stance seems to entail; secondly, based on an updated understanding of the visionary mode, to reconceptualize its relation with the ordinary. Through discussions of five important modernist novels, this study concludes that modernist practicing of the visionary mode, when contextualized and historicized, portrays the subject as situated in dynamic exchanges with otherness, subscribes to a sense of historical relativity that resists dubious forms of absolute ideologies, and puts forward a political imagination that is present-focused and collectively oriented. The transporting power of the visionary is understood as forming an ongoing interaction and exchange with the ordinary that imbues the realm of everyday experiences with transformative potential.

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