The Phenomenology of the Self and Others in Virginia Woolf's The Waves, Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, and Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier
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The aim of this dissertation is to inquire into the conception and understanding of the self as explored in and through its intersubjective relations in the works of three canonical modernist novelists, namely, Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (1931), Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (1900), and Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier (1915). It draws upon the insights provided by phenomenology whose main concern for the subject as situated in the world among others squarely overlaps with that of modernist fiction. Building upon the various conceptualizations of the self offered by phenomenology, it further focuses on the self-other relations with a keen eye for the undeniable impact and significance of others in the way the self is conceived. With their emphasis on the subject as thrown into the world, each of the selected novels foregrounds and explores a different aspect or dimension of the self which directly bears on its relations with others. In this respect, the selected novels are respectively examined with regard to average everyday self (they-self) and heightened self-consciousness through others (The Waves), ethical self as response-able for others (Lord Jim), and identity formation and self-justification through others (The Good Soldier). Therefore, against the traditional approaches to the self which is regarded as isolated and unhitched in modernist fiction, it is argued that each novel studied in this dissertation presents an account of the self as bodily situated in the world and as inextricably entangled with others who are revealed to be an integral constituent of the self.