Abstract

On November 7, 1928, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary that her 1931 novel, The Waves, would be an "abstract mystical eyeless book" (Diaries 3; 203). In her personal writings, she also referred to the novel as "an endeavour at something mystic, spiritual; the thing that exists when we aren't there" (114). From the initial inspiration for the novel to her own notes, Woolf envisioned The Waves to be "spiritual" above all else. This project examines Woolf's engagement with spirituality throughout The Waves, particularly in the moments in the novel in which the queer characters--Rhoda and Neville--express sexual desire. In doing so, I suggest that Woolf engages in a queer spirituality--a spirituality that conveys both a queer sexual desire and identity. For Rhoda and Neville, and in some ways Woolf herself, that desire remains unachieved, suggesting that Woolf viewed spirituality as a means of expressing a queer identity that was oftentimes frustrated and unfulfilled. In that frustration, however, Woolf also appears hopeful for a future, a potentiality, in which queer individuals could express their queerness openly.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities

Rights

https://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2021-06-03

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd11838

Keywords

Virginia Woolf, The Waves, Queer, Spirituality

Language

english

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