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Vous êtes ici : Accueil / Actualités / Section Anglais / Conférence : "The journey is everything": Virginia Woolf's Continental Adventure

Conférence : "The journey is everything": Virginia Woolf's Continental Adventure

mardi 7 avril 2020, 17h-18h30, ENS de Lyon, site Descartes, D2.034

Conférence Etudes Anglophones : Carole Bourne-Taylor (Brasenose College, Oxford University)


"The journey is everything": Virginia Woolf's Continental Adventure

A consciously European writer with 'the zest of travelling' and 'a taste for edginess', Virginia Woolf found in France a 'congenial civilisation' (an antidote to what she perceived as the 'insularity', 'domesticity' and 'homeliness' of England), where she could reject (just like Montaigne did) the notion of a being-in-stasis. Her appropriating the Montaignean motto signals her rejection of dogmatism and doxa, as well as a parti pris in favour of process and open-endedness. If the sheer strangeness of a foreign language (anticipating Barthes's own exhilaration) and landscapes spurred her spirit of experimentation – Proust was her 'great adventure' after all – it was Montaigne who provided her with a an epistemological model and writing protocol.

Embedding Woolf – whose poetics of the self was premised on the exploration of otherness and the breaking down of boundaries – within the broader context of Montaigne's reception brings home the values of transnational cross-fertilisation: this is yet another opportunity to reassert the enduring relevance of her oeuvre (and that of Montaigne, by the same token) in a post-Brexit context. At the time of her death, confronting both her fantasies and fears, Woolf was exploring ways of reinventing Englishness against the backdrop of an increasingly threatening context. In a truly Montaignean fashion, the aesthetic and epistemological gesture to the ethical in an effort to 'think through troubled times'.


Carole Bourne-Taylor, auteur de L'univers imaginaire de Virginia Woolf (publié aux Éditions du Temps, Paris, 2001, avec une préface de Jean Guiguet et une postface de Gilbert Durand), est maître de conférences (Fellow) à Oxford (Brasenose College), où elle enseigne la littérature de langue française de la Révolution à nos jours et dirige des travaux de recherche en littérature française et comparée.

Conférence ouverte à toutes et à tous.

Contact : Heloïse Lecomte et Sophie Lemercier-Goddard