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From Individual to Collective

Virginia Woolf’s Developing Concept of Consciousness


Masako Nasu

This book argues that a profound shift can be found in the works of Virginia Woolf, from an early «pursuit of the individual» to a late «pursuit of the collective». Evidence for this shift is found both in the narrative modes she employed and the methods by which thought is represented in the works themselves, and in ideas and ruminations found in Woolf’s diaries and essays. The stylistic analysis covers works from The Voyage Out (1915) to the posthumously published Between the Acts (1941), and shows how several of the shorter pieces can be considered to be experiments with techniques that were fully employed in Woolf’s longer, major fictions. This shift arises from changes in Woolf’s concept of the conscious and unconscious over time, and the argument shows how she took deliberate steps to reflect these changes in her fiction. This framework provides key insights for new interpretations of her works.

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1. Review of Critical Studies and Analytical Framework


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1.   Review of Critical Studies and Analytical Framework

1.1  Critical trends in Woolf’s works

1.1.1  Chronological review of major critiques

Virginia Woolf was a rather prolific writer: she wrote nine novels, forty-six short stories, as well as essays and literary criticism, and five collections of diaries and letters. In whatever genre, what Woolf wrote has attracted attention from a range of literary critics of various backgrounds as well as general readers.

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