Dissolving Identity: Becoming-Imperceptible in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway

  • Author / Creator
    Lypka, Celiese T.
  • This thesis identifies and explores a literary and theoretical correlation between Virginia Woolf’s “moments of being” and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of “becoming.” It does this by examining the total deconstruction of identity in Woolf’s fourth novel, Mrs Dalloway. Through her protagonist Clarissa Dalloway, a woman torn between her constructed external self and an internal desire to be united with the universe, and Clarissa’s working-class double Septimus Warren Smith, Woolf explored new methods of composing literary representations of being. In this thesis, I implement Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s literary philosophical work from A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, to develop a new vocabulary for discussing the tensions that underlie Woolf’s characteristically elusive writing style. Using Deleuzian terminology – a terminology that accepts an open-ended writing style and that does not require pinning down Woolf’s intentions – allows for an examination of the dissolving character, “becoming imperceptible,” of Clarissa at the novel’s end. This consideration of Mrs. Dalloway demonstrates the ways in which Deleuze’s philosophy can expand our understanding of Virginia Woolf’s poetics of the novel.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.