Chapter 3Woolf ’s Visuality and Spatiality 83
Chapter 3 Woolf ’s Visuality and Spatiality We must take literally what vision teaches us: namely, that through it we come in contact with the sun and the stars, that we are everywhere all at once […]. — M. Merleau-Ponty, ‘Eye and Mind’ Rhythm, said Stephen, is the first formal esthetic relation of part to part in any esthetic whole or of an esthetic whole to its part or parts or of any part to the esthetic whole of which it is a part. — J. Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Three main criteria make it possible to analyse and understand the value of the visual and the spatial in Woolf ’s whole production, namely, descrip- tive visuality, spatial form and cognitive visuality. Leaving aside the con- crete spatiality of texts, which is physically and simultaneously present, visuality and spatiality are to be figuratively understood since neither the literal typographic space of the book, nor the presence of visual images are involved. In Woolf ’s prose, these visual and spatial strategies mutually interact. Nonetheless, for analytical purposes, in this study they will be considered separately, and they will be discussed by referring both to the short stories and to Jacob’s Room. Woolf ’s experiments with the short-story form are extremely interesting in that the stories are concentrated forms of inter- related spatiality and visuality, where remarkable motifs and composi- tional features recur. For this reason they provide a useful introduction to the development and interaction of the strategies...
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