So Long, Farewell, Female Silence: Reading Woolf's Essays on Female Writing as well as Lily Briscoe's Artistic "Attempt" in Woolf's To the Lighthouse in Light of the Writing Theories of Cixous, Irigaray, and Kristeva
Voert, K. ter
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This project pursues to portray a multifaceted image of female artistic creation, and therefore adopts an encompassing approach. Contrary to the masculine dialectical discourse as well as the feminine framework founded on criticism, in which woman (either deliberately as in the former case or unintentionally as in the latter case) vanishes in silence, it interweaves various female voices to celebrate her creative vision. Since the philosophers writing within the framework of écriture féminine selected for this project, Cixous, Irigaray, and Kristeva, like Woolf, all argue for a fluid way of writing, flowing through (bodily) feelings, contradiction, and intimacy, I read Woolf’s essays regarding female writing through the eyes of these three poststructuralist feminist philosophers. Furthermore, to be as inclusive and plural as possible within the limited scope of this project, I eventually consider Lily Briscoe’s painting process in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse in light of the aforementioned writing theories of Woolf and écriture féminine. Embracing their female ways of creating through celebrating her senses and plunging in the liquid layers of her unconscious, longing at the same time for connection and incongruity, Lily equally attains her artistic vision fluently. As an internal critique of the traditional dialectical discourse in which woman (dis)appears as a negative, I apply the Hegelian dialectical method for feminist purposes, creating a conversation between various female voices, and caressing contradiction in order to achieve unity within these differing views. Since the women writers explored in this thesis express their ideas concerning female writing through the form of their works, I implement their feelings regarding a fluid female language not only explicitly in my content, but also implicitly through writing fluently and fleshy, not feeling afraid to interlace multiple stylistic and poetic devices.