Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Simon Joyce

Committee Members

Suzanne Raitt

Adam Potkay

Alexander Prokhorov


This essay analyzes the ways in which T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf simultaneously construct and deconstruct linguistic environments that embody Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia. In The Waste Land and The Waves, Eliot and Woolf construct elements of Bakhtin's novel before dismantling those same elements through the formation of linguistic imbalance. Both authors generate heteroglossia by incorporating numerous speech types and speech genres into their texts through variations of idiolect, sociolect, and literary allusion. These speech types then dialogize each other within the texts. However, the works then diverge from heteroglossia through an imbalance of the centrifugal and centripetal forces of language. Both The Waste Land and The Waves lack meta-narrators who could impose order upon the speech types and balance the two opposing linguistic forces. The Waste Land then allows centrifugal forces to dissolve the relations between voices and speech types, perpetuating linguistic stratification until identity is lost. The once discrete voices of The Waves, in contrast, become overwhelmed by the centripetal forces of language and collapse into the voice of a single, monologic speaker by the end of the novel.