Virginia Woolf’s Maternal Narrative

Iraj Montashery


This article argues that Woolf serves as an exemplary model of women’s writing; a kind of writing through which patriarchal language is subverted. She explores the nature of oppressive male discourse and the conditions necessary to create alternative women’s discourse. In her text, unconscious desires manifest themselves through different languages. Through meticulous analysis of characters’ language in Woolf’s selected works, it becomes evident that so far, patriarchy has repressed the feminine element of the articulations of these unconscious desires. Therefore, Woolf’s text lays bare a language which does not repress pre-symbolic elements, since they are considered as crucial determinants in the process of the construction of subjectivity. Such a language is possible by merging masculine and feminine elements, or in other words, by merging symbolic and semiotic elements. Characters, under an ever-present maternal power, realise the inadequacy and limitations of the patriarchal (symbolic) language and therefore, transcend the rigid boundaries of patriarchal language.

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International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

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