Lily Briscoe's Work of Art
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Lily Briscoe's Work of Art
Författare och institution:
Lena Sundin (Göteborgs universitetsbibliotek, Centralbiblioteket)
16th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf,
In a context of experimental writing, iconicity, a tradition ultimately derived from the visualization of a sacred person or an idea in Byzantine art, interacts, through colour symbolism, with its Classical subtext in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. The strong organizing power of Lily Briscoe's pictorial reduction of a complex, elegiac motif - Mrs Ramsay, reading to her son James in the summer-house's entrance - stems from its use in traditional art as a geometrically presented conception of creation. The process of painting a picture thus organized around a figure of creation is, at the same time, the process of writing To the Lighthouse. The apex of the triangle underlying the narrative structure of characters and colours is Mrs Ramsay. More precisely, the goal shared by the characters and colours is to reach Mrs Ramsay beyond death, to describe her as she "really was". Hence, the relation between painting and novel is synecdochical. By making Augustus Carmichael and William Bankes the participants in the work on her picture of Mrs Ramsay, Lily's painting is a study based on perceiving Mrs Ramsay from many sides - sides that are the result of using the same intersecting vantage points or angles as those of an Euclidean triangle. Just as the triangle is the figure that will balance and complete Lily's painting, elegy is the genre chosen for its capacity to complete and balance the narrative events - "scenes" and memories - evoked by this painting. In accordance with the synecdochic relation between painting and novel, what the elegy unfolds is analogously unfolded by the triangle. When Lily, in conjunction with elegy's final stage, returns to present life, the triangle exhausts itself as an "odd shaped" shadow on the empty drawing-room step - the threshold that unifies but also separates Mrs Ramsay's past life in the summer-house from the artist's locus, the lawn.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, iconicity, poetic metaphor, colour symbolism, elegy, Aeneid
'Woolfian Boundaries'. 16th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. 22nd - 25th June 2006. In affiliation with the International Virginia Woolf Society and the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. Hosted by the University of Birmingham. This text is based on the doctoral thesis, Iconicity in the Writing Process: Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and Gerald Murnane's Inland (Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2004).