‘Like a Shell on a Sandhill’: Woolf’s Images of Emptiness

Julia Briggs

in Reading Virginia Woolf

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624348
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651856 | DOI:
‘Like a Shell on a Sandhill’: Woolf’s Images of Emptiness

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This chapter studies absence as emptiness, an empty vessel that once held life. It looks at the connections between the empty house, the empty shell and the skull – which is the most traditional ‘memento mori’ – that appear in Jacob’s Room and To the Lighthouse. The chapter shows that the skull is pictured as a ‘vast mind’, or a dome of wisdom.

Keywords: absence; emptiness; skull; memento mori; dome of wisdom

Chapter.  5156 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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