The Hero’s Isolation in Virginia Woolf’s and Graham Swift’s Lyrical Novels Cover Image

The Hero’s Isolation in Virginia Woolf’s and Graham Swift’s Lyrical Novels
The Hero’s Isolation in Virginia Woolf’s and Graham Swift’s Lyrical Novels

Author(s): Irina-Ana Drobot
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Editura Alfa
Keywords: Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism, lyrical monologues

Summary/Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to analyse, comparatively, the theme of isolation in Woolf’s and Swift’s lyrical novels. The theme the two authors have in common is also part of Romanticism; it reminds of Romantic lyric poetry. The way in which isolation as a trope in Romantic lyric poetry works to create the lyrical aspect in Woolf’s and Swift’s novels is explored. The characters’ difficulty with communication makes them retreat into themselves and, if the novel is composed of lyrical monologues, it reveals this idea through its very form. The characters’ isolation is always connected to a poetic view of life. Sometimes, it is also connected, at the same time, with tragic view of life. For the Romantics, solitude was, however, coupled with the idea of sociability, in the sense that a balance was supposed to be achieved between public and private lives. Here characters such as Rachel, Septimus or Lucrezia in Woolf’s novels, fail. Delgado Garcia suggests a narratological interpretation: the level of the story presents disconnected, isolated characters, while the level of narration shows that common memories about the war connect them. The characters’ solitude is tied in with parts of their personalities. One significant aspect of Orlando’s personality is his preference for solitude, which casts him in the role of a Romantic poet. Characters sometimes talk without actually having something meaningful to say, without connecting to those they talk to. For Swift’s characters, conflictual relationships lead to the characters’ isolation. The isolated characters talk, yet the others do not connect with them. The Romantic ideal of connecting private with public lives leads to a tragic result of being isolated from the others.

  • Issue Year: X/2014
  • Issue No: 1 (19)
  • Page Range: 147-158
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: English