Honors College Thesis


Politics of Style: Modernist Embodiments of Gender and Consciousness in the Short Fiction of Virginia Woolf & Clarice Lispector Public Deposited

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  • This thesis argues for a similar politics of style behind the aesthetic experimentation in the short fiction of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and Clarice Lispector (1920-1977). By locating the two writers within the international trajectories of modernism, I contend that both Woolf and Lispector engage modernist experiments in consciousness as a basis to deconstruct and overhaul the gender dichotomies of language. I identify Lispector as a beneficiary of Woolf’s iconoclasm. By examining Woolf’s polemic in her essays “Modern Fiction” (1919) and A Room of One’s Own (1929), I consider the political rationale behind her experimental aesthetics, emphasizing her notion of a “women’s sentence.” I trace Woolf’s polemic through “A Society” (1921), “The New Dress” (1927) and “The Lady in the Looking-Glass: A Reflection” (1929), and locate moments of resonance in Lispector’s “Love” (1952) and “The Daydreams of a Drunken Woman” (1960). This thesis uses feminist and poststructuralist methodologies to illustrate how both writers contribute to the ongoing feminist discourse on gender, language, and consciousness.
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