The poetics of water in the works of Virginia Woolf
Marlene Dirschauer studierte von 2007-2015 Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft und Anglistik an der Freien Universität Berlin. Sie schloss ihr Studium mit einer Arbeit zum Schlaf im dramatischen Werk Shakespeares ab. Von 2011-2015 war sie als studentische Hilfskraft am Lehrstuhl von Frau Prof. Olk angestellt.
The literature of European modernism saw an increasing interest in the ideal of fluidity as a means to overcome the rigidity of the former century. The seemingly solid foundation on which language had hitherto stood was shaken and conventionalized forms of plot and focalization seemed no longer able to convey a boundless world of imagination. Like no other writer during this period, the English novelist Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) embraced the idea of the fluid to reach at a new kind of poetic writing that was freed from the restrictions of realism and at the same time challenged generic boundaries. This dissertation project therefore identifies water as the key element of Woolf’s poetics. Not only did water inspire the settings of her novels, but as it is mirrored in her non-fictional writing, it became a poetological principle, the ideal to which the mimetic aspiration of the text gravitates even if the metaphor itself is no longer present: it has materialized not only in the text but as text itself. The project aims at catching the elusive nature of Woolf’s poetics by tracing the different functions of water in Woolf’s fictional and non-fictional works. It approaches from a new angle the very term “poetics” – contending that, in Woolf novels, it arises from the interplay between the immaterial of the imagination and the materiality of language that congenially meet in the idea of water.
Marlene Dirschauer’s other research interests are in the Early Modern Period, especially in the dramatic works of Shakespeare.