Virginia Woolf as a Process-Oriented Thinker: Parallels Between Woolf’s Fiction and Process Philosophy introduces Virginia Woolf as a nondualist and process-oriented thinker whose ideas are, despite no direct influence, strikingly similar to those of Alfred North Whitehead. Veronika Krajíčková argues that in their respective fields, literature and philosophy, Woolf and Whitehead both criticized the materialist turn of their time and attempted to reattribute importance to experience and undermine long-rooted dualisms such as subject and object, the animate and the inanimate, the human and the nonhuman, or the self and the other. By erasing the gaps between these dualities, the two thinkers anticipated the poststructuralist thought with which Woolf has been anachronically associated in the last decades. Krajíčková shows that there is no need to analyze Woolf’s fiction via critical and philosophical theories that developed much later. This book demonstrates that Woolf and Whitehead’s ideas may help us adopt more ecologically friendly, selfless, intersubjective, and harmless modes of being in the present day. Both figures emphasize the intrinsic value and importance of each constituent of reality and teach us to appreciate the aesthetic values dispersed throughout our environment.
Veronika Krajíčková teaches English literature in the Faculty of Arts at the University of South Bohemia.
Introduction: Virginia Woolf and Process-Oriented Thought
Chapter 1: Woolf’s Conception of Things and the Relation Between Subject and Object
Chapter 2: Panpsychism and More-Than-Human Experience in Woolf’s Fiction
Chapter 3: Woolf’s Process-Oriented Identity, Intersubjective Selves, and Exploration of Community of Difference
Chapter 4: Woolf’s Criticism of Anthropocentrism and Exploitation of Nature
Conclusion: Analogies Between Literature, Philosophy, and Real Life
A book waiting to be written—and Veronika Krajíčková does so in mindful, thorough, and always informative ways.
Veronika Krajíčková’s new book demonstrates that scholars studying Virginia Woolf’s handling of materiality, ecology, ontology, ethics, and aesthetics (not to mention their entanglements!) ought to be in dialogue with the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. While theorists like Gilles Deleuze, Donna Haraway, Jane Bennett, and Rosi Braidotti supply the conceptual architecture for much of this kind of work in Woolf studies, Krajíčková shows the relevance of a philosopher who was Woolf’s contemporary—a thinker whose writing not only resonates with Woolf’s fiction and non-fiction but whose insistence on processual and relational models anticipates thing theory, OOO, speculative realism, and new materialism. There is much work left to do on Whitehead’s place in modernist thought and culture.