Date Thesis Awarded

5-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

English

Advisor

Robert Mulcahy

Committee Members

Christy Burns

Francesca Sawaya

Suzanne Raitt

Alexander Prokhorov

Abstract

In her seminal 1929 feminist essay “A Room of One’s Own,” Virginia Woolf bemoans the lack of a utopian “woman’s sentence” vis-à-vis the “men’s sentence” that has dominated literature and from which no woman writer has successfully managed to free herself. Indeed, the aforementioned quotes illustrate a yearning for a nonexistent, or long-forgotten, language that expresses the linguistically inexpressible. In my thesis, I propose that both the English novelist and essayist Virginia Woolf and the Russian poet and artist Elena Guro establish the optimal creative state as independent of the burden of masculine language. In their respective works The Waves (1931) and The Little Camels of the Sky (Nebesnye verbliuzhata) (1914, hereafter referred to as Little Camels), Woolf and Guro challenge the authority of the masculine sentence and propose a means of reclaiming language by estranging the linguistic subject, deconstructing feminine archetypes, and ultimately, by anticipating the French feminist idea of l’écriture féminine.

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