A Nietzschean Reading of Androgyny in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse
Both Friedrich Nietzsche and Virginia Woolf are of the opinion that a human being is comprised of two opposite selves. They are, in Nietzsche’s terms, the Apollonian deriving from Apollo, the sun-god associated with self-control, rationality and order, and the Dionysian named after Dionysus, the wine-god, representing passion, irrationality, and chaos. In Woolf’s understanding, the human mind is composed of masculine and feminine characteristics. From their perspectives, the patriarchal Victorian culture brought the Apollonian self forward the Dionysian one and associated ‘woman’ with the Dionysian and feminine traits such as emotion, passion and chaos but ‘man’ with the Apollonian and masculine properties including reason, self-control and order. Nietzsche notes in The Birth of Tragedy (1872) that an artist creates a high-quality art out of the balance between his Apollonian and Dionysian selves, and Woolf claims in A Room of One’s Own (1929) that the fusion of an artist’s masculine and feminine minds is prerequisite for creativity. Therefore, both of them necessitate for a great artist to produce free from gender traits and call for the androgynous mind. Thus, this paper explores the intersection of Nietzsche’s Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy and Woolf’s theory of androgyny in To the Lighthouse (1927).
Keywords: Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, To the Lighthouse.
Bodichon, B. L. S. (2001). Women and work. 1857. In Candida Ann Lacey (Ed.), Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and the Langham place group Vol. 3. (pp. 36-74). New York: Routledge.
Butler, J. (1990). Subversive bodily acts. In Gender trouble. (pp. 101-163). New York: Routledge.
Daniel, C. (2006). Voracious children: Who eats whom in children’s literature. New York: Routledge.
De Beauvoir, S. (2010). The second sex (Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany Chevallier, Trans.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Emery, M. L. (1992). Robbed of meaning: the work at the center of To the lighthouse. MSF Modern fiction studies 38 (1), 217-234.
Fayad, M. (1977). Aliens, androgynes, and anthropology: Le Guin’s critique of representation in The left hand of darkness. In Mosaic: A Journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature 30 (3), 59-73. Retrieved on December 12, 2018 from https://www.jstor.org/stable/i40167343
Foucault, M. (1977). Nietzsche, genealogy, history. In Michel Foucault, Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Trans.), Donald F. Bouchard (Ed.), Language, counter memory, practice: Selected essays and interviews. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Gilbert S. M. & Gubar, S. (1996). The madwoman in the attic. In Mary Eagleton (Ed.), Feminist literary theory: A reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Harris, D. (1974). Androgyny: The sexist myth in disguise. In Women’s studies 2, 171-184.
Hatab, L. J. (1981). Nietzsche on woman. Southern journal of philosophy 19 (3), 333-345.
Heilbrun, C. G. (1993). Toward a recognition of androgyny. 1973. New York: Norton.
Hughes, K. (n.d.). Gender roles in the 19th century. The British Library. British Library Board, Accessed January 10, 2019. Retrieved from http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the19th-century#sthash.uFd1Juyz.dpuf.
Hussey, M. (1995). Virginia Woolf A to Z. New York: Oxford UP.
Kristeva, J. (1980). Desire in language: A semiotic approach to literature and art. Léon S. Roudiez (Ed.). Alice Jardine, Thomas Gora, and Léon Roudiez (Trans.). New York: Columbia UP.
Marcus, Jane, ed. (1983). Virginia Woolf: A feminist slant. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Maze, J. R. (1997). Virginia Woolf: Feminism, creativity, and the unconscious. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
Mill, J. S.. (1963). The subjection of women Millicent Garrett Fawcett (Ed.). London: Oxford University Press.
Minogue, S. (2012). Introduction to A room of one’s own. A room of one’s own. By Virginia Woolf. London: Wordsworth Editions, 5-25.
Moi, T. (1985). Sexual/Textual politics: Feminist literary theory. London: Routledge.
Neumann, E. (1969). The origins and history of consciousness. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Nietzsche, F. (2005). The anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, twilight of the idols. Aaron Ridley (Ed.), Judith Norman (Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
---. (1966). Beyond good and evil. (W. Kaufmann, Trans.). New York: Vintage.
---. (1992). The birth of tragedy (1872). In Basic Writings of Nietzsche. (W. Kaufmann, Ed. and Trans.). Modern Library, 1-144.
---. (1974). The gay science. Walter Kaufmann (Trans.). New York: Vintage.
---. (1969). On the genealogy of morals. (W. Kaufmann, Trans.). New York: Vintage.
Pease, A., ed. (2015). The Cambridge Companion to “To the Lighthouse.” New York: Cambridge University Press.
Plato. Symposium. (B. Jowett, Trans.). Retrieved on January 20, 2019, from http://www.classics.mit.edu.plato/symposium.html
Rendall, J. (1985). The origins of modern feminism: Women in Britain, France, and the United States, 1780-1860. New York: Macmillan.
Roe, S., & Sellars, S., eds. (2000). The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ronchetti, A. (2004). The artist, society and sexuality in Virginia Woolf’s novels. New York: Routledge.
Rowbotham, J. (1989). Good girls make good wives-guidance for girls in Victorian fiction. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Secor, C. (1974). The Androgyny Papers. Women’s studies: An interdisciplinary journal 2 (2), 139-141.
Showalter, E. (1977). A literature of their own: British women novelists from Brontë to Lessing. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton UP.
Snaith, A., ed. (2007). Virginia Woolf Studies. Hampshire: Palgrave Advances.
Topping Bazin, N. (1973). Virginia Woolf and the androgynous vision. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Woolf, V. (1980). The diary of Virginia Woolf. (A. O. Bell, Ed.) Vol. 3: 1925-1930.
London: The Hogarth Press.
---. (2015). A room of one’s own. 1929. (D. Bradshaw and S. N. Clarke, Ed.). West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.
---. (1992). To the Lighthouse. 1927. Collected novels of Virginia Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway, To the lighthouse, The Waves. Ed. Stella McNichol. London: Macmillan. 177-335.
---. (1979). Women and writing. (Michile Barrett, Ed.). New York: Harcourt.