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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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I would like to thank Professor Takashi Nishimae and Professor Yoshi Kenmotsu at Okayama University for their detailed and valuable comments on my PhD thesis, on which this book is based. I also wish to thank Professor Kyoko Wakimoto and Professor Yuu Kuribayashi at Okayama University for their invaluable suggestions from a linguistic and stylistic point of view. I am also grateful to Dr Paul Hullah (Meiji Gakuin University) for his unfailing guidance with academic and idiomatic English usage.

My interest in literary stylistics started when I was an M.A. student at the University of Nottingham, and I am grateful to Professor Ronald Cater for encouraging this interest. I owe particular debts to Professor Yoshifumi Saito (University of Tokyo), Professor Shintetsu Fukunaga (Okayama University) and Professor Ai Tanji (Hosei University) for their strong encouragement to continue my studies.

I also wish to thank Professor Tetsuya Ogoshi (Kobe City University of Foreign Studies), Professor Tae Yamamoto (Doshisha University) and Dr Midori Ichikawa for intensive discussion in the preparation of the symposia held by the Virginia Woolf Society of Japan (VWSJ). I have learned a great deal from their ideas and responses to an earlier draft of parts of the text. I should also thank Ms. Kuniko Miyakami for her painstaking attention to detail in the preparation of this manuscript. My gratitude is also due to all my colleagues and friends for their warm encouragement and support.

I would like to thank the researchers...

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