In their article, "The Eye, The Mind & the Spirit: Why ‘the Look of Things’ Held a ‘Great Power’ Over Virginia Woolf," author Michael R. Schrimper creates an argument surrounding the idea of Virginia Woolf being "fixated on vision."Schrimper bifurcates "vision" between two poles: "the actual act of seeing," and "the concentrated observation of objects and surroundings” (33). They go on to detail how that vision manifests itself in terms of active "seeing" and being "seen.". "Seeing" and "being seen" splits the act of perception into a straightforward logic of subject/object; either/or; active/passive. Woolf is perhaps arguing "seeing" cannot be separate from "being seen," and vice versa. Aside from offering various glimpses into conscious vision, or the act of sight occurring in Woolf’s works, such as when they state "vanishing even as she looked, and then, as she moved" (Woolf 124), the author argues sight retains a specific narrative function for Woolf. Schrimper stratifies Woolf's interest in vision into four components, of which two are especially significant: "Woolf believed that to behold a scene or object closely was to create a temporary stoppage against the passing of time. Thirdly, Woolf drew a connection among observation and cognition and spirituality." (33). In my research, I distill Schrimper's distinction between the second and third component influencing why vision held a great power over Woolf. Departing from Schrimper, I argue that those two components are commonly one in the same within Woolf’s novel.
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Werner, Sydney, "Vision in Virginia Woolfe's To the Lighthouse" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 138.