Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 9, No 2 (2013)

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Mrs. Dalloway's Existential Temporality

Jason Wakefield


Using Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway as primary text to illuminate the human experience of time, it is argued against T. Armstrong (in Modernism) that the depiction of time by Modernist writers such as Woolf is Heideggerian rather than Bergsonian. This study is used to reveal the originality of Heidegger as opposed to Bergson, whose ideas on time, it is suggested, are merely an accumulation of traces of previous ideas on time. Drawing on Aristotle's Metaphysica, De Interpretatione, Ethico Nicomachea, Rhetorica and Physica to develop a new vocabulary, Heidegger revealed the distinctive ontological foundation of space and time in connecting temporality with being. The characters in Mrs. Dalloway illustrate the difference between an authentic and an inauthentic relation to the temporality of being.

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