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Visuality and Spatiality in Virginia Woolf’s Fiction


Savina Stevanato

This book offers an interpretative key to Virginia Woolf’s visual and spatial strategies by investigating their nature, role and function. The author examines long-debated theoretical and critical issues with their philosophical implications, as well as Woolf’s commitment to contemporary aesthetic theories and practices. The analytical core of the book is introduced by a historical survey of the interart relationship and significant critical theories, with a focus on the context of Modernism. The author makes use of three investigative tools: descriptive visuality, the widely debated notion of spatial form, and cognitive visuality. The cognitive and remedial value of Woolf’s visual and spatial strategies is demonstrated through an inter-textual analysis of To the Lighthouse, The Waves and Between the Acts (with cross-references to Woolf’s short stories and Jacob’s Room). The development of Woolf’s literary output is read in the light of a quest for unity, a formal attempt to restore parts to wholeness and to rescue Being from Nothingness.


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Acknowledgements xv


Acknowledgements I would like to thank Loretta Innocenti for her constant encouragement and guidance. My thanks also to Valerio de Scarpis for his suggestions, to Francesco Berto for his advice, to Marisa Severi for her revision of the manuscript, and to Hannah Godfrey for her editorial assistance. I am most grateful to T. for his insights. The present treatment of The Waves and To the Lighthouse modifies and develops the argument in two previous articles of mine: ‘The Triple Visual Modality of The Waves by Virginia Woolf ’, Annali di Ca’ Foscari, 42/1–2 (2003), 245–73; ‘To the Lighthouse: The Remedial Function of the Visual and the Spatial’, in L. Innocenti, F. Marucci and E. Villari, eds, Pictures of Modernity (Venice: Cafoscarina, 2008) 129–48. Every ef fort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher apologizes for any errors or omissions in the above list and would be grateful for notifi- cation of any corrections that should be incorporated in future reprints or editions of this book.

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