This blog is a combination of information compiled as an element of a seminar course revolving around Virginia Woolf.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Mark on the Wall and Modern Fiction

Thoughts about Nature...

In my previous blog I discussed Woolf’s relation to nature and after reading “ The Mark on the Wall” and “ Modern Fiction,” I have some additional thoughts that build upon my previous observations. In both “ The Mark on the Wall” and “Modern Fiction,” Woolf addresses fiction and nature in a personal way. She acts as if they are physical entities addressing them as her. In “The Mark on the Wall” she states,” I understand Nature’s game-her prompting to take action as a way of ending any thought that threatens to excite or to pain.” In “Modern Fiction” she ends her argument by stating, “And if we imagine the art of fiction…she would bid us break her and bully her.” The manner in which Woolf addresses both of these inanimate objects highlights the tension that Woolf recognizes between Nature and Fiction. Giving both Nature and Fiction an identity helps the reader recognize the power the two elements have over humanity through their influence on literature. The relationship between the two entities is so concrete to Woolf that the entirety of “Modern Fiction” is merely a summation of it. For Woolf, it seems that Nature and Fiction (or successful fiction in Woolf’s eyes) cannot coexist. The author must learn to look past what Nature or their past has taught them. They must examine specific situations according to unique individual experience in a way that leaves no room for generalizations or reliance on previous knowledge.

Although the type of Nature that Woolf addresses in these short works does not seem to be the same type as the outdoor, flower, garden type that I was referring to in my previous post, in my eyes it is still significant. It shows that Virginia Woolf is not only focused on natural elements, but upon the nature of humanity in general. I found this connection regarding the two works very interesting and hoped to elaborate on my previous post by introducing a different type of nature examined within Woolf’s work.

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