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"[H]e comes back now more as a contemporary": The intertextual relationship of Virginia Woolf and Leslie Stephen

Breckin, Thomas (2018) "[H]e comes back now more as a contemporary": The intertextual relationship of Virginia Woolf and Leslie Stephen. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines Virginia Woolf’s relationship with her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, focusing upon the ways in which Woolf alludes to him and his work through her own writing, and how she uses these allusions for very deliberate effect. Specifically, it considers Woolf’s ability to characterise Stephen, and thus her relation to him, in different ways through this literary method. It will be demonstrated why and in what contexts Woolf takes these different perspectives on Stephen, with the argument being made that she has no intention in solving the inconsistencies found amongst them. The contradictory nature of these conflicting versions of Stephen is a part of Woolf’s method of writing of him; it dismisses the idea of one authoritative truth. In employing this approach to conceptualising her father as a writer, Woolf is also able to claim certain aspects of both the Victorian and modern eras, and allows Woolf to maintain a literary connection with Stephen and her Victorian heritage that has the effect of preserving both. At other times, it sees her employing strategies in her writing that distance Woolf from both Stephen and the past. This thesis will also look to re-position Stephen by continuing the recent research that has seen him presented as a more positive figure in Woolf’s life than past criticism has allowed. It will examine the progressive outlook that frequently guided his life and career, particularly in comparison with Woolf’s own often radical nature, and demonstrate that Woolf’s reflections on Stephen’s ideas can be seen as a continued dialogue between the two. This is a crucial aspect of Woolf’s method of reconstructing the dynamic between father and daughter, as it moves their relationship away from the intersubjective and towards the intertextual.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Virginia Woolf, Leslie Stephen, intertextuality, biography, philosophy, modernism, Orlando
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds Trinity University
Depositing User: Mr Tom Breckin
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2019 11:31
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2019 11:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23374

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