Virginia Woolf and "A Woman's autobiography": rewriting Victorian conventions of autobiography Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8p58pj74t

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  • This thesis brings together gender and genre criticism to consider Virginia Woolf s memoir, "A Sketch of the Past," as a modern experiment in rewriting the traditions and conventions of Victorian autobiography. This thesis will demonstrate how Woolf specifically disrupts the conventions of linear representations of time and the assumed authority of authorship in order to establish her autobiography outside the realm of a tradition which seeks to marginalize the experience of women. Woolf uses language to renegotiate her relationship to autobiographical traditions by exploring different authorial positions and strategies which question the Victorian paradigm such as foregrounding her own compositional process, creating distance between herself as a subject and as a producer of autobiography, and insisting on the ways conventional autobiography ignores the experiences of women. Woolf locates herself outside the traditional temporal framework of autobiography in order to consider what is omitted from autobiography under this arrangement. Finally, Woolf uses literal and metaphoric representations of mirrors to reveal what lies unseen, unrealized, and unspoken in the telling of women's lives. Under the presupposition that Woolf aims to create a woman's autobiography, and thus must undo the ways a traditional autobiography does not address the lives of women, Woolf proves that autobiography is a genre important to the successful incorporation of women's lives into literary history. Woolf simultaneously creates a precedent for future women writers to open up their exclusion from autobiography and voice a history that has been silenced, misrepresented, and ignored within the traditions of autobiography.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Anna Opoien(anna.opoien@oregonstate.edu) on 2011-08-18T23:46:48Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 VanderpoolAubraeM2005.pdf: 433913 bytes, checksum: 9a9ed624a008669b20ee2b73edbc840b (MD5)
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