"But why was I bored?" : Virginia Woolf's treatment of boredom
Date of Issue2014
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Woolf’s identification of a “boredom” with the introduction of a new order in modernist literature is particularly perceptive considering the nature of the literary epoch from which she was writing. Defined as an experience that eludes the individual’s ineffable desires, boredom is a fundamental mood of the constantly-shifting perspectives of the modern subject. Using Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves, this thesis will firstly show how Woolf celebrates boredom as an indication of idiosyncratic subjectivity. Secondly, this thesis will reveal that the aestheticism of boredom in Woolf’s novels points to a vision of literature that remains exalted in its consideration of the value of individual, human desire. The three chapters of this paper are divided according to the nuanced experience and expression of Woolfian boredom. In addition, each section will deal with issues of modernity and boredom, how they have evolved, and their degree of engagement with each other.