資料彙整   /   作家  /  Virginia  Woolf  維吉尼亞.吳爾芙
Virginia  Woolf
維吉尼亞.吳爾芙
圖片來源:www.faculty.sbc.edu/.../ ReadingWoolf/woolf.html
主要文類:Novel
資料提供者:Evelyn Sung/宋怡緻
關鍵字詞:ESSAY

維吉尼亞•吳爾芙

1882-1941

小說家,評論家,散文家

Evelyn Sung/宋怡緻
 父親的影響與早期教育

 兒時目睹死亡和遭受性虐待的經驗引發憂鬱症

 婚姻和出版事業

布羅姆斯伯里集團 ( Bloomsbury group)

霍加斯出版社 ( The Hogarth Press)

 實驗性寫作 — 「意識流」寫作

 女性寫作 — 同性戀、雌雄同體、女性與寫作

 晚年



 父親的影響與早期教育

吳爾芙於一八八二年在倫敦一個推崇文學與藝術的著名家庭中誕生。她的父親萊斯利•史蒂芬是當時有名的學者與傳記家。主流的文學家與政治家時常拜訪他們近海德堡公園大門附近的家。吳爾芙兒時雖因體弱多病而無法正常上學,但充滿文藝氣息、文人絡繹不絕的生長環境為她帶來了不少正面的影響。對於吳爾芙無法上學的另一說法,則與史帝芬有關。據聞史蒂芬個性專制、陰鬱、深沉,並主張女人無需上學。在妻子茱莉亞過世之後,史蒂芬變的不明事理且時有情緒上的失控。吳爾芙於父親死後的一週年,在她的日記裡用「無法想像」來形容若父親仍在世,她一定創作不出任何東西的窘境。簡言之,吳爾芙認為母親是不折不扣的維多利亞時代婦女,典型的「家中天使」的形象,將一生都奉獻給丈夫、兒女、還有外頭的慈善團體。吳爾芙深信母親是死於長期的過度勞累。她筆下的人物,如《燈塔行》裡的蘭賽夫人、《達洛威夫人》裡的克萊麗莎•達洛威,據稱都是以母親茱莉亞為楷模所創作出來的角色,而蘭賽先生的性格則和萊斯利•史蒂芬有幾分神似。儘管如此,吳爾芙在文學與藝術方面的素養,一定程度上是受了父親的陶冶與影響。史帝芬不僅將自己的私人圖書室開放給吳爾芙,並傳授她有效閱讀的方法。吳爾芙在 A Writer's Diary 提及父親傳授的閱讀心法:「依興趣閱讀,因為是自己所愛,便不需內心不歡喜,卻仍要假裝喜歡的閱讀。」

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兒時目睹死亡和遭受性虐待的經驗引發憂鬱症           

研究吳爾芙的傳記家深入探討其憂鬱症發作的原因,認為與死亡和性在心理層面的影響有顯著的關係。有顯著影響的事件包括同父異母的兄長對她的性侵犯、母親的去世、同父異母的姐姐史黛拉因難產而死亡、同父異母的姐姐蘿拉長年受心理疾病所擾、父親之死 (這對吳爾芙而言既令她哀慟卻也是個解脫 ),和她摯愛的哥哥托比死於傷寒。昆汀•貝爾斷定吳爾芙幼時被兄長性侵害的隱忍改變了她對性的態度。除此之外,不正常的兄妹關係也可能是造成吳爾芙婚後性冷感的原因。評論家指出,上述林林總總的幼時經驗讓吳爾芙變的異常敏感、對生活的冷酷與現實異常敏銳,並大大減弱她應付生命之冷酷的能力。

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 婚姻和出版事業

布羅姆斯伯里集團

一 九零四年父親過世後,吳爾芙和當畫家的姐姐凡妮莎•貝爾搬到布羅姆斯伯里(Bloomsbury)。她們的新居後來成了布羅姆斯伯里集團這群知識分子活動的主要場所。集團成員包括吳爾芙的哥哥托比和弟弟亞德里•史帝芬、畫家貝爾(Clive Bell)和格蘭特(Duncan Grant)、評論家佛利 (Roger Fry)和麥卡錫(Desmond MacCarthy)、傳記家司特雷奇(Lytton Strachey)、經濟學家凱恩斯(Maynard Keynes )、政治理論家李歐納德•吳爾芙 (Leonard Woolf) 。吳爾芙的小說創作技巧很可能受了佛利藝術理論的影響。整體說來,集團成員(皆上過劍橋大學) 是群對哲學感興趣的知識份子,並認同愛與美在生活中的重要性。一九一二年,維吉尼亞嫁給集團成員李歐納德•吳爾芙,並於一九一七年與之共同成立霍加斯出版社(the Hogarth Press)。

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霍加斯出版社

吳爾芙夫婦出版了許多重要的書籍,包括曼斯菲爾德(Katherine Mansfield)的《序曲》(曼斯菲爾德當時仍沒沒無聞)、艾略特(T. S. Eliot)的《詩集》、吳爾芙、奧登 (W. H. Auden)、佛洛伊德(Sigmund Freud)、格瑞夫(Robert Graves)、威爾斯 (H. G. Wells) 等作家的作品。他們夫婦的出版方針,首重品質佳且具原創性的作品,且喜愛與年輕、沒沒無名、激進的作家合作。

吳爾芙夫婦的婚姻生活不像一般的婚姻—彼此雖在智識上十分契合,但兩人卻不太重視性生活。李歐納多是一個十分勤快的男人,終其一生都在照顧受憂鬱症所苦的愛妻,還有出版社的事業。從許多方面說來,他都是吳爾芙的呵護者。努力經營出版社,好讓吳爾芙可以盡心寫作。負責應付生活中的繁雜瑣事,也閱讀、評論妻子的手稿,並伴著吳爾芙渡過因親人之死而引發的情緒崩潰。因為李歐納多對其寫作所給予的支持,和對出版社的用心,吳爾芙在一九二五年的日記裡,打從心裡愉悅的寫道:「我是英格蘭唯一可以隨心所欲書寫創作的女性。」

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實驗性寫作—意識流寫作

吳爾芙是現代主義作家中,以實驗性寫作聞名的偉大作家之一。吳爾芙在她最早的小說《遠航》The Voyage Out (1915) 與《日與夜》Night and Day (1917)中,運用的是傳統、平鋪直敘的敘事手法,實驗性敘事法的運用始於 Jacob's Room (1922),但在《達洛威夫人》Mrs. Dalloway (1925) 和《燈塔行》To the Lighthouse (1927)中更趨成熟。吳爾芙這種嘗試性的新敘事手法被稱作「意識流」寫作。《達洛威夫人》藉由克萊麗莎達洛威的意識表達,其結構偏重於個人記憶與心理。小說探討許多現代主義濃厚的主題:科技對日常生活帶來的影響,一次世界大戰對集體心理所產生的衝擊,婚姻制度的價值,情感盟誓的不可捉摸,人與人之間因疏離而產生的焦慮等。吳爾芙運用「意識流寫作」,從人物外表下手,逐漸探入角色的內心與情緒。此手法的應用讓每個人物都具有心理層面的深度與厚度。

《燈塔行》承接《達洛威夫人》探討的主題,透過層層的主觀認知鋪陳意識流的寫作手法。小說的時序為夏日,以蘭賽一家人象徵英國社會的上流階級。吳爾芙以自己的父母做為創作蘭賽夫婦的靈感,並藉創作此本小說的過程,沉澱淨化自己對父母的回憶。畫家莉莉•布里斯可是蘭賽一家人的朋友,莉莉所面臨的衝突影射吳爾芙創作時,在小說形式上所面臨的衝突。對莉莉和蘭賽夫人的討論,皆不離女性的性徵、創造力、主體性等問題,以及社會大眾看待女性的態度。

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 女性寫作—同性戀、雌雄同體、女性與寫作
        

《達洛威夫人》也是吳爾芙早期作品中,觸碰同性戀議題的小說。克萊麗莎•達洛威和莎莉•沙頓年輕時的關係,明顯暗示著女同性戀者間相互的吸引力。此一嘗試是《歐蘭朵》 Orlando (1928) 中歐蘭朵的性徵,和《自己的房間》A Room of One's Own (1929) 中克蘿和奧莉維亞關係的先聲。吳爾芙在這兩本小說中都對女性的屈從地位、女性與寫作的關係等問題展現了相當的關切。

《歐蘭朵》一書是吳爾芙為她的戀人薇塔•薩克維亞•維斯特所寫,書中許多部分都是依據薇塔貴族家庭的歷史寫成。此書的子標題提名為<傳記>,內容堪稱為一部歷史狂想曲,對一些文學作品和學術性的歷史著作都有所嘲諷。此書同時也精闢的指出性別在不同的歷史時代中,可以影響個人與其財產和藝術追求之間的關係。《歐蘭朵》的筆調詼諧幽默,並納入雌雄同體的概念來作為認識性別的方法。

《自己的房間》也探討雌雄同體的概念,被視為是女性主義文學理論的經典。吳爾芙認為人的大腦是可以超越性別而以雌雄同體的形式存在,因此無論男性或女性,都可以成為偉大的作家。《自己的房間》以演講的形式寫成,以探討「女性和寫作」為主。吳爾芙主張女性在寫作時,必須經濟獨立且擁有自己的寫作空間。此篇論文探及女性和經濟、社會、教育結構的關係。

《三枚金幣》Three Guineas (1938) 被視為《自己的房間》的續集,是吳爾芙第二本頗具重要性的非小說寫作。《三枚金幣》奠定吳爾芙在和平主義與女權主義中的重要地位。此書檢視社會邊緣人所受到的強制規範,強調經濟獨立對女性 ( 尤指自己父親受過教育的女性) 的重要性,並質疑女性所受教育的本質。吳爾芙認為女性向來是歷史上的代罪羔羊,並主張女性和其他弱勢團體 (尤指工人階級 ) 必須為自己的歷史和文學提出訴求。

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晚年

吳爾芙終其一生都在與憂鬱症搏鬥。她的憂鬱症不僅僅源於孩提時的經驗,還有許多外在因素使然,而讓她走上絕路。外在因素諸如經營霍加斯出版社的壓力、她因《三枚金幣》一書,和李歐納多引發嚴重相左的政治立場、希特勒對歐洲的侵略、一九三九年二次世界大戰的爆發、一九四零年他們位於倫敦的房子毀於戰火之中、德軍飛機不斷從頭上飛過的吵鬧聲、最新的傳記 Roger Fry (1940)不受好評、李歐納多計劃若德軍侵略英國,兩人將一起自殺等。一九四一年三月,吳爾芙的憂鬱症再度發作,一發不可收拾,使她不但無法進食,且腦中常有聲音作響。依據她在日記裡的描述,她深信自己無法從這次病發中康復,更不忍李歐納多終其一生守在她的病榻旁。在留下絕筆書後,吳爾芙在口袋中裝滿石頭,於奧斯河溺斃。

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Virginia Woolf

1882-1941
novelist, critic, essayist

Evelyn Sung/宋怡緻
 Father's influence and the early schooling

 Childhood experiences of death and sexual abuse lead to depression

 Marriage and the publishing enterprise

Bloomsbury group

The Hogarth Press

 An experimental writer—the stream-of-consciousness technique

 A feminist—lesbianism, androgyny, women and writing

 Last years



 Father's influence and the early schooling

Woolf was born in London in 1882 to a distinguished family that encouraged the study and appreciation of literature and arts. Her father, Leslie Stephen, was a noted scholar and biographer. Leading literary and political figures frequented Woolf's home at Hyde Park Gate. Although she was often ill as a child and was thus unable to attend school regularly, she benefited from the ongoing intellectual exchange occurring in her rich cultural milieu. The other interpretation of Woolf's not being able to attend school has something to do with her father, who was said to be tyrannical, dark, and brooding, believing that women should not be sent for school, and when his wife Julia died, he was prone to irrational, emotional outbursts. Reflecting on the anniversary of Stephen's death, Woolf wrote that had he lived there would be "no writing, no books—inconceivable." In short, Woolf's mother for her represented the typical Victorian "angel in the house," who dedicated her life to Stephen, their children, and charities outside the home. Woolf believed that her mother died prematurely from exhaustion. Woolf's characters, Mrs. Ramsay (To the Lighthouse) and Clarissa Dalloway (Mrs. Dalloway), are said to be modeled on Julia, while Leslie Stephen shares qualities with the character Mr. Ramsay. However, to a certain extent Woolf's cultivation of literature and arts were attributed to Stephen's guidance and instruction. He facilitated Woolf's quest for knowledge by opening his private library to her. He also counseled her in the art of effective reading: his advice, as recounted by Woolf in A Writer's Diary, was "to read what one liked because one liked it [and] never to pretend to admire what one did not."

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 Childhood experiences of death and sexual abuse lead to depression
    

Woolf's biographers trace her bouts with depression to a variety of psychological issues predominantly related to death and sexuality: inappropriate sexual advances made by her stepbrothers, the death of her mother, the death of stepsister Stella in childbirth, the long-term mental illness of elder half-sister Laura, the sorrowful yet liberating death of her father, and brother Thoby's death from typhoid fever. Quentin Bell alleged that Woolf's endurance of sexual abuse as a young girl by her older half brother permanently altered her attitude toward sex. In addition to the psychological strain caused by the abuse, the siblings' perverted relationship may have contributed to Woolf's frigidity as a married woman. Critics have indicated that the combined effect of these childhood experiences drained Woolf of her delicate emotional reserves, heightened her sensitivity to the harsh realities of life, and seriously impaired her ability to cope.

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 Marriage and the publishing enterprise
 
Bloomsbury group

Woolf and her older sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to a house in Bloomsbury after their father's death in 1904. Their new home later became central to activities of the intellectual Bloomsbury group, which included Woolf's brothers, Thoby and Adrian Stephen, painters Clive Bell and Duncan Grant, critics Roger Fry and Desmond MacCarthy, biographer Lytton Strachey, economist Maynard Keynes, and political theorist Leonard Woolf. Roger Fry's theory of art may have influenced Virginia's technique as a novelist. In general, the Bloomsbury group were intellectuals with philosophic interests (all had been educated at Cambridge) and viewed the values of love and beauty as preeminent in life. In 1912, Virginia married Leonard Woolf, one of the Bloomsbury intellectuals, with whom she established the Hogarth Press in 1917.

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 The Hogarth Press
Over the years the Woolfs published many important books, including Prelude by Katherine Mansfield, then an unknown writer; Poems by T. S. Eliot; and works by Woolf, W. H. Auden, Sigmund Freud, Robert Graves, and H. G. Wells. The policy of the Hogarth Press was to publish the best and most original work, and the Woolfs as publishers favored young, obscure, and radical writers.

The Woolfs led an unconventional marriage—neither was interested in a sexual relationship though they were deeply engaged in an intellectual one. As a hardworking man, Leonard Woolf devoted himself to nurture his beloved wife and the management of the Hogarth Press. In many ways, Leonard was Woolf's caretaker. He worked to create an environment where she could pursue her writing. He took care of the practicalities of their lives as well as reading and commenting on Woolf's manuscripts. He also nursed Woolf through several mental breakdowns caused by the death of her family members. It was Leonard Woolf's support of her writing and the publishing house itself that combined in the symbiotic relationship that allowed Virginia Woolf to exult in her diary in 1925: "I am the only woman in England free to write what I like."

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 An experimental writer—the stream-of-consciousness technique
         

Woolf is best known as one of the great experimental novelists during the modernist period. After the use of traditional, linear narratives in her earliest novels, The Voyage Out (1915) and Night and Day (1917), Woolf began her narrative experimentation with the novel Jacob's Room (1922). However, the new narrative form that Woolf developed, the "stream-of-consciousness technique," found a more complete expression in Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). Mrs. Dalloway is told through the consciousness of Clarissa Dalloway and relies heavily on memory and psychology for its structure. The novel investigates many significant Modernist issues: the impact of technology on daily life, the impact of World War I on the collective psyche, the value of institutions such as marriage, the intricacies of emotional commitments, and the anxiety produced by alienation of people from one another. At the same time, the use of the "stream of consciousness technique" allows her to portray the exterior of a character and then to move inside the character's mind and emotions. This narrative force brings psychological depth to each character.

To the Lighthouse picks up the themes of Mrs. Dalloway. It develops the stream-of-consciousness technique through its layering of subjective perceptions. The novel takes place at the summer home of the Ramsay family, who represent upper-class British society. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay are modelled on Woolf's parents, and she saw the writing of the novel as a kind of catharsis that allowed her to put the memory of her parents to rest. The Ramsay's family friend, Lily Briscoe, is an artist, and her conflicts are reflection of Woolf's concern with form in the novel. Discussions of Lily and Mrs. Ramsay have focused on issues of women's sexuality, creativity, and subjectivity, and how the world is perceived by women.

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 A feminist—lesbianism, androgyny, women and writing
            

Mrs. Dalloway also houses one of Woolf's earliest homoerotically suggestive scenarios. The description of Clarissa Dalloway and Sally Seton's relationship with each other as young women clearly alludes to a lesbian attraction. It anticipates the sexuality of Orlando and the relationship between Chloe and Olivia in A Room of One's Own. Both Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) show Woolf's concern to the questions of women's subjugation and of the relation between women and writing.

Orlando was dedicated to Woolf's lover, Vita Sackville-West, and developed based on her lover's aristocratic family history. Subtitled Biography, the novel is a historical fantasy that parodies a number of literary texts as well as satirizing academic historical writing. It analyzes the way gender determines the individual's relationship to property and art at different moments in history. Its tone is humorous and also introduces the concept of androgyny as a way to understand gender.

A Room of One's Own also investigates the issue of androgyny and is considered a classic in Anglo-feminist literary theory. Woolf discusses the androgynous mind, a mind that transcends gender and that is necessary for any writer, male or female, to be great. Written in the form of a lecture, the premise of A Room of One's Own is to discuss "women and fiction." She offers the opinion that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. The essay becomes an analysis of women's relationship to economic, social, and educational structures.

Three Guineas (1938) is the second of Woolf's major non-fiction works, conceived as a sequel to A Room. It has established Woolf as significant voice in the cause of pacifism and feminism. Three Guineas looks at the enforced development of a "society of outsiders," emphasizes the importance of economic independence for the daughters of educated men, and questions the nature of women's education. She assesses here the notion of woman as scapegoat of history and argues the necessity for women and other marginalized groups, particularly the working classes, to make a claim for their own history and literature.

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 Last Years

Woolf fought with depression for most of her life. Not only her childhood experiences but also many other threat fed Woolf's depression and ultimately killed her. External factors such as the burden of the Hogarth Press, a profound political disagreement between Virginia and Leonard over her book Three Guineas, the threat of Hitler, the beginning of World War II in 1939, the bombing of their London house in 1940, the constant noise of the German planes flying over head, the sour receipt of her latest biography Roger Fry , and Leonard's planning of a double suicide for them should the Germans finally invade Britain. By March 1941, Woolf's felt another recurrence and her depression became insurmountable. She was not eating and she was hearing voices. Her diary tells us that she believed she would not recover from this one and felt she could not sentence Leonard to taking care of her for the rest of his life. After rewriting drafts of her suicide note, she put rocks in her pockets and drowned herself in the River Ouse.

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References

"Virginia Woolf." Contemporary Authors Online , Gale, 2005. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center . Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005.

"Virginia Woolf." Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, Volume 6: Modern Writers, 1914-1945 . Gale Research, 1991.

"Virginia Stephen Woolf." Encyclopedia of World Biography , 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.

"(Adeline) Virginia Woolf." Feminist Writers . St. James Press, 1996.

"Virginia Woolf." Gay & Lesbian Biography . St. James Press, 1997.

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