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(Im-)personal Intensities in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse



In this essay, I will explore (im-)personal intensity as the affirmative mode of being depicted in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. This (im-)personal type of existence features affirmativity to the extent that it immerses beings in intensity through the double fight against personal subjectivity and impersonal chaos. To clarify the importance of this kind of being for the understanding of Lighthouse, I will first review several readings approaching the novel in light of personality and/or impersonality and address their limitations. Then, I will turn to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's writings on art and elaborate the nature of the being of (im-)personal intensity. With the Deleuzian/Guattarian aesthetics, I will examine the three main characters, or, in Deleuze and Guattari's term, "Figures," of Lighthouse-namely, Mrs. Ramsay, Lily Briscoe, and Mr. Ramsay-and analyze how each constitutes itself as an (im-)personal intensity and thereby has his or her being affirmed. To conclude this essay, I will interpret the middle and second section of the novel-known as "Time Passes"-as another (im-)personal being. Based upon this, I will also deal with the (im-)personality of Lighthouse in itself, the distinction of the novel from Woolf's other works also pertaining to the issue of the (im-)personal, and its positive influence upon Woolf herself.

Parallel abstracts

本文企圖探索小說家吳爾芙作品《燈塔行》所呈現的肯定性生命樣態,本文稱為非非人強度((im-)personal intensity)。該生命樣態之所以具有肯定性(affirmativity),是因為浸淫於其中的存在體,得以同時與人稱主體與非人稱混沌同時相抗衡,進而使其生命充滿強度。為了要釐清非非人強度概念對於理解《燈塔行》的重要性,本文會先討論以人稱及非人稱觀點閱讀該小說的文獻,並試著指出這些閱讀方法的侷限。接著,本文將回顧德勒茲與瓜塔里的美學哲思,藉此勾勒非非人強度生命型態的基本特質。根據此一生命樣態構想,本文將探討《燈塔行》的三名主要角色-或是德勒茲與瓜塔里所謂的「形象」(Figure)-即藍西夫人、畫家莉莉與藍西先生,在小說中如何各自化身為某一非非人強度,使其生命從而充滿能量與肯定特性。最後,本文將討論《燈塔行》的第二部分〈時光流逝〉如何亦作為某種非非人強度存在體,並兼論小說本身的非非人特性、該小說與吳爾芙其他與非非人相關作品的差異,以及小說對於作家的正面效應。

Parallel keywords

吳爾芙 《燈塔行》 德勒茲與瓜塔里 非非人 強度


Auerbach, Eric. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Princeton UP, 2003.
Banfield, Ann. The Phantom Table: Woolf, Fry, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism. Cambridge UP, 2000.
Bradshaw, David. Introduction. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, edited by David Bradshaw, Oxford UP, 2008, pp. xi-xlvi.
Briggs, Julia. “The Novels of the 1930s and the Impact of History.” Roe and Sellers, pp. 72-90.
Colebrook, Claire. “Woolf and ‘Theory.’” Virginia Woolf in Context, edited by Bryony Randall and Jane Goldman, Cambridge UP, 2012, pp. 65-78.