Seeing/Scene-ing Imagination in “Nurse Lugton’s Curtain”: Sir Thomas Browne and Virginia Woolf (70611)

Session Information: Literary Studies
Session Chair: Jerry Chia-Je Weng

Saturday, 27 May 2023 09:55
Session: Session 1
Room: Room 703
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

This paper argues that Sir Thomas Browne’s ruminations on the dialectics between life and death, waking and sleep in his books might have influenced Virginia Woolf when she wrote the Lugton story. This short story might not be so playful and hedonistic as it seems. On closer scrutiny, it oscillates between life and death, waking and sleep, and reminds us how rare it is when imagination, animals as its incarnation in the story, is present, since most of the time, humans are either blind to it or have killed it already. Lugton might be blind to her imagination, but Woolf’s writing skill, free indirect discourse and her capacity for scene-making, render imagination vivid by concealing human-centered perspectives into the text, and by presenting the scenes in which the route that animals move or the trace that imagination treads can be perceived by the reader. The importance of these two skills is: without any quotation marks to solidify the identity of the speaking subject, the reader can immerse themselves into the consciousness of the text (hence free) but the scenes are still made present through a textual perspective that Woolf embeds in the story (hence indirect). Her writing skills unremittingly remind us how elusive and slippery imagination is, and artists’ works, e.g., “Nurse Lugton’s Curtain” and Nurse Lugton’s curtain, are humans’ (futile) endeavor to capture it.

Chia-Chen Kuo, Tamkang University, Taiwan

About the Presenter(s)
Professor Chia-Chen Kuo is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Tamkang University in Taiwan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00