Journal of Modern Literature
Woolf was one of many modernists who led an assault on philosophy. Given her anti-philosophical orientation, those scholars who use philosophy to interpret Woolf, I argue, are implicitly at odds with her aesthetic. Crucial to my argument is Woolf's conception of what I refer to as the semiotic unconscious, which predetermines the conceptual systems we use to systematize our experiences of the world. Based on my findings, I suggest an alternative frame for understanding Woolf's treatment of philosophy and, more generally, modernist anti-philosophicalism. Instead of assuming that philosophy signifies intellectual depth, as many scholars do, I suggest approaching Woolf, as well as many modernists, in terms of their scathing critique of philosophy. What we need are more studies that use a new frame to discuss the literary modernist assault on philosophy. As for Woolf, I conclude: to have an intimate understanding of her work, we must first banish philosophy and the philosopher.
Journal of Modern Literature © 2006 Indiana University Press
Lackey, Michael, "Modernist Anti-Philosophicalism and Virginia Woolf's Critique of Philosophy" (2006). English Publications. 21.