The Chronotopic Nature of Things in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Orlando
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Virginia Woolf’s novels are acknowledged as some of the most influential Modernist works dealing with issues of self and spirituality. However, her emphasis on materiality as an essential element in life and literature, which is embedded with spirituality, was partly neglected by the critics. Nevertheless, contemporary studies on materiality in literature have offered new perspectives to re-evaluate objects in Woolf’s fiction. In Introduction of this thesis, Woolf’s critical ideas on materiality and spirituality are discussed with references to her selected essays. Additionally, Bill Brown’s thing theory and Mikhail Bakhtin’s idea of chronotope are discussed to pinpoint the temporal nature of objects to turn into things, which is coined by Brown as “occurrences” of “thingification.” In this regard, thing theory and chronotope are combined to connect spatiotemporality with thingification of objects in Woolf’s novels. Therefore, the chronotopic nature of things is discussed by concentrating on the material world’s capability to shape and reshape the human characters in Mrs Dalloway (1925) and Orlando: A Biography (1928). In Chapter 1, the objects in Mrs Dalloway are analyzed to discover their potential thinghood regarding their impacts on the characters’ chronotopic image located in the post-war historical chronotope. In Chapter 2, objects of historical time are investigated as the things of biographical time in Orlando by highlighting the novel as a mock biography. Consequently, this thesis argues that thingification in narratives is enabled by the literary chronotope by illustrating the mutated relations between object and subject as occurrences determined by the chronotopes in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Orlando.
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