Woolf and Freud: A dialogue between Woolf's fiction and psychanalytic theory

Johnston, Paul (2007) Woolf and Freud: A dialogue between Woolf's fiction and psychanalytic theory. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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It is the principal aim of this thesis to consider a dialogue that exists between Woolf's
fiction and psychoanalytic theory, namely Freud's theories on sexual identity that were being published by Woolf's own Hogarth Press much around the same time as her earlier works. It is the contention of this thesis that not only do Woolf s texts explore many of the same theories being developed in the field of psychoanalysis, but that the literary representation of these ideas retains many of the socio-political concerns specific to the time of her writing. I have selected 'Mrs Dalloway', To the 'To the Lighthouse' and 'Orlando', as a combination of texts that can be shown to offer a sustained and developing dialogue between Woolf's fiction and Freud's theory. This dialogue, therefore, is considered within the context of the modernist period, a period in which the concept of female identity was being directly challenged by the
Women's Movement, and a period in which the very nature of human identity was being reconsidered in art, philosophy and literature. In considering this context, the dialogue that exists between Woolf and Freud can be shown to subversively engage with key issues, concerns, and grievances (namely women's pursuit of socio-political equality) that characterize the modernist period.

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