2018 - 2019

  Virginia Woolf - A Psychoanalytic Perspective  
Prof. Sharon-zisser ShirleWebb - School of Languages105 Mon1000-1200 Sem  1
Webb - School of Languages105 Mon1000-1200 Sem  1
University credit hours:  4.0

Course description

Virginia Woolf: A Psychoanalytic Perspective - BA Seminar

Prof. Shirley Sharon-Zisser

2018/19, Fall term, 4hr credit for BA

Reception hours: Monday, 14:00-15:00 or by appointment, Webb 509


E-mail address: shir3@post.tau.ac.il


Course prerequisites: interest in poetics, literary theory, psychoanalysis; love of language. It would be beneficial for students to have taken courses in theory.


Course Description

Please note that this seminar proceeds from a psychoanalytical Freudian-Lacanian position.

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” is the celebrated quote from Virginia Woolf’s manifesto-like A Room of One’s Own, usually read as an insistence on the social and economic conditions that might allow more women to write more literary works. From a psychoanalytical perspective, however, this quote and the book as a whole raise the question of the function of the “room” (a signifier and concept that recurs in Woolf’s work) for Woolf as a particular subject and as woman struggling with writing. What might Woolf’s work teach us about the psychic necessity, for a woman writer, to postulate a room in order to posit a limit in the face of what, in a woman’s sexuality, does not cease not to be written? What does this text and Woolf’s pioneering and singular works of fiction such as Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Waves, and Between the Acts teach us about the question of feminine jouissance in its relation to writing? About the possible function of writing as a way to treat a real that plagues the subject? We shall examine these and other psychoanalytical questions in relation to Woolf’s texts mentioned above as well as some of her short stories, essays, and autobiographical essays such as “A Sketch of the Past” and “Reminiscences.” Our theoretical guides shall be the works of psychoanalyst Michele Montrelay on femininity, and Jacques Lacan’s seminar 23, Joyce the Sinthome. In  the light of this seminar we will ask about the subjective differences between these two giants of modernist literature and their possible relation to questions of gender.

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