Colloques & Conferences de l'Universite Lyon 2, Modernism and Unreadability / Modernisme et Illisibilite

Exploring the limits of unreadability: Virginia Woolf's Melymbrosia and The Voyage Out

Monica Girard

Temps: 2008-10-23  03:25  – 04:00
Dernière modification: 2008-07-07


From a genetic and editorial point of view, I would first like to examine different forms of readability concerning Virginia Woolf's edited manuscripts. Several methods of transcription will be taken into account to observe the way editors have chosen to turn a text which is difficult to decipher (because of handwriting, multiple corrections, crossings out, marginalia, etc) into a readable text for Woolfian scholars. Within this genetic and editorial approach, I will then focus on a particular work in progress, The Voyage Out, which displayed the first symptoms of modernism in its previous versions (Melymbrosia). It is paradoxically in the unreadable pages of these versions that Virginia Woolf tentatively tries her hand at a new method of writing, while in the published or readable version, the first signs of modernism are finally deleted, the author turning to a more traditional way of writing. The interest of Woolfian manuscripts is to show how the young author seeks the limits of readability and explores new modernist tools, but comes back to an authorized readable text.