Chapter

Virginia Woolf: Reading Remains

Lecia Rosenthal

in Mourning Modernism

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233977
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241200 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823233977.003.0003
Virginia Woolf: Reading Remains

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The First World War intensified the ambivalent charge of the unprecedented. The aporia of lastness, of living to survive the unsurvivable event, takes a turn at the moment new forms of the technological present both superhuman and posthuman narratives of finitude and deterritorialized, disembodied being. Montagu's lecture consistently acknowledges a gap between the governing logic of historical precedent and the future effects of new aerial technologies. Modernism has been understood as aesthetics of symbolic compensation and substitutive coherence, an imaginative “holding together” of meaning and mastery in the face of worldly turbulence, disintegration, and incoherence. The imposition of the language of nature suggests what might be called a naturalization of violence, a reduction or commensuration of the war to the “insensibility of nature.”

Keywords: First World War; lastness; modernism; finitude; violence; Virginia Woolf

Chapter.  12462 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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