Woolf, Virginia


Woolf, Virginia
(1882-1941)
  ---- Claire Colebrook
  One of the challenges Deleuze presents to late twentieth-century philosophy and theory is his critique of linguisticism, or the idea that we can only think within a language and that language structures our perception. His idea that true thinking must plunge back into the life from which language emerges, rather than remain within a language, is profoundly modernist and continues an early twentieth-century concern with the genesis of systems of signs. Although Deleuze writes positively about a series of modernist writers and artists, including James Joyce, his and Guattari's celebration of Virginia Woolf in A Thousand Plateaus is significant for two reasons. First,Woolf 's own work is contemporaneous with Henri Bergson who was so important for Deleuze. It is possible that Woolf 's concern with pre-linguistic perception may well have emerged from the same intellectual milieu to which Deleuze appeals. Woolf 's Bloomsbury circle was concerned with the autonomy of the aesthetic and its difference from the fixed categories of logic. Bergson's appeal to the undivided flow of creative life from which fixed terms emerge was part of a broader modernist reaction against reification, intellectualism and technological rationalisation of which Woolf 's style is perhaps the greatest expression. Second, the most explicit appeal made by Deleuze and Guattari to Woolf is in the 'becoming-woman' section of A Thousand Plateaus.
  If modernism in general shares the Bergsonian distaste for a world reduced to clock time, mathematical space and impoverished experience, Virginia Woolf 's response is uniquely positive and affirmative. Unlike other modernists who used techniques such as the fragmentation of language, quotation, allusion, punning and parataxis - linguistic techniques - to show signs operating as machines beyond human intent,Woolf used literature to think and express the extra-literary. This is perhaps why, when Deleuze and Guattari want to think about becoming, they turn to becoming-woman and Virginia Woolf.
  Whereas 'man' is the presupposed universal subject of the system of speech and the being to whom all becoming is represented, woman is the key to all becomings. Woman is not the Other of man, not that which lies outside language as unrepresentable, negative and undifferentiated. If we want to think the life, becoming or perceptions from which the subject emerges then we need to move beyond 'man' as subject or ground to woman as becoming, expression and creation. Woolf is crucial here not because she is a woman writer, expressing women's experience in language (for she argues in A Room of One's Own (1929) that it is fatal, when writing, to think of one's sex). Rather, Woolf 's style is becoming-woman.
  On the one hand, Woolf 's writing is about perception; her sentences in The Waves (1931) create characters who are their perceptions, and whose world is not a set of static objects so much as a perception of others' worlds. Characters receive impressions not as extended objects in time but as intensities or becoming, 'blocks of becoming'. On the other hand,Woolf's work is not just about perception and a world of impressions; she also enacts becoming and intensity at the level of style, with many of her sentences complicating and subverting the subject-predicate structure of standard speech and logic.
  Connectives
   § becoming
   § power
   § woman
   § writing

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Woolf, Virginia — ▪ British writer Introduction original name in full  Adeline Virginia Stephen  born Jan. 25, 1882, London, Eng. died March 28, 1941, near Rodmell, Sussex  English writer whose novels, through their nonlinear approaches to narrative, exerted a… …   Universalium

  • Woolf, Virginia — (1882 1941)    Claire Colebrook   One of the challenges Deleuze presents to late twentieth century philosophy and theory is his critique of linguisticism, or the idea that we can only think within a language and that language structures our… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Woolf, Virginia — ► (1882 1941) Novelista británica. Sus novelas analizan las profundidades de la conciencia actual. En 1915 publicó su primera novela Viaje de ida. Noche y día, Orlando, Mrs. Daloway y Las olas son sus obras más conocidas. Perteneció al grupo… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Woolf, Virginia —  (1882–1941) English novelist …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Woolf — Woolf, Virginia …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Virginia Woolf — Nombre …   Wikipedia Español

  • Virginia Wolf — Virginia Woolf Pour les articles homonymes, voir Woolf. Virginia Woolf Portrait de Virgin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Woolf — ist der Name folgender Personen: Alex Woolf (* 1963), Geschichtsforscher des Mittelalters an der University of St. Andrews Bella Sidney Woolf (1877–1960), britische Autorin Harry Woolf (* 1933), Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (2000–2005) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Woolf — (Virginia) (1882 1941) écrivain anglais. Elle abolit le temps romanesque au profit du temps affectif: la Chambre de Jacob (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), la Promenade au phare (1927), Orlando (1928), les Vagues (1931). Elle se suicida, laissant un… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Woolf — Woolf, Virginia (1882 1941) a British writer and ↑critic who was an important member of the Bloomsbury Group and is admired by ↑feminists. Her novels, such as To the Lighthouse and The Waves, use the style called ↑stream of consciousness …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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