A Case for Modernism: Tracing Freud in Bloomsbury Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Davison, Leslie
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • This project traces Freud's impact on four members of the Bloomsbury group: Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Katherine Mansfield, and Dorothy Sayers. I contend that a Freudian influence is evident in the authors' concern with the ethical problems of attempting to perceive or embody absolute truth in language. All of the authors in this study suggest the existence of an inaccessible, unknowable core at the heart of psychic experience that seems comparable to the Freudian unconscious. This core produces meanings rather than truths, and thus must be interpreted rather than investigated. These authors point to the need for an ethics of interpretation that can successfully read these meanings where a more forensic, reductionist, investigatory brand of psychology would fall short (or, worse, harm the subject of investigation). Though authors like Woolf and Forster were openly hostile to Freudian thought at times and neither Mansfield nor Sayers openly affirmed Freud's influence, this study will demonstrate a Freudian lineage behind this ethics of interpretation, illustrating how Freud's unconscious wove its way into that of Bloomsbury.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of English."
  • Carlston, Erin
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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