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Mourning Gendered Discipline: Virginia Woolf and the Modern Elegy

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abstract
The thesis defines Woolf's modernization of elegy from the perspective of gender. Western men and women have been trained to obey two distinct sets of codes in traditional mourning culture and have experienced differently problematic cultural sanctions in responding to loss. This study explores how the traditional gendered discipline in mourning is challenged by Woolf in her representation of Lily Briscoe and Septimus Warren Smith's mourning in To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway. Through the characterization of Lily--a female mourner who makes efforts to control grief, to reject the legacy left by the dead, and to consolidate her own identity in mourning for Mrs. Ramsay--Woolf breaks the traditional imagination of female mourners and challenging the female discipline in mourning. Correspondingly, through crafting the character of Septimus--a male mourner who denies the characteristics of sociability, professionalism, and civilization, rejects the meaning attached to death by traditional male elegists, and gives up the narrative agency which is traditionally attributed to male elegists--Woolf rejects the normative representation of male mourners and destroys the traditional assumptions about masculine discipline in mourning. Through the representation of the two types of modernist mourning, Woolf reimagines a new language of articulating loss, which breaks the gendered discipline in traditional mourning culture.
subject
gender
modernization
mourning
Virginia Woolf
contributor
Wu, Shan (author)
DeShazer, Mary (committee chair)
Vabuena, Olga (committee member)
Still, Erica (committee member)
date
2014-07-10T08:35:33Z (accessioned)
2014 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
10000-01-01 (liftdate)
embargo
forever (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/39281 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Mourning Gendered Discipline: Virginia Woolf and the Modern Elegy
type
Thesis

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