Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Frank Lloyd Wright, architecture, modernism, spatial form, interiority, consciousness
During the Modernist period, generally defined between the years 1890 and 1945, artists were attempting to break away from previous forms and styles. For example, writers like Henry James and Virginia Woolf sought to change the novel by exploring the consciousness of characters, while playing with the ideas of time and space to create the present moment. The thesis explores the modernist techniques used by James and Woolf, but also connects the work of the writers with the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Using Joseph Frank's theory of spatial form, my work explores the similarities between Wright's designs of private residences with the design of space in the novel. All three artists, I argue, are working with spatial form, blending interior with exterior, to provide the reader and the dweller with the opportunity to experience an organic unity, which ultimately results in a freezing of the moment. In addition to Frank's theory, I also incorporate Stanley Fish and Reader Response theory and William James's Principles of Psychology. The reader and the dweller must actively engage with the structure, whether a text or the home, to develop and realize the possibilities of spatial form. Also, William James's ideas about the mind and consciousness influenced Henry James and Virginia Woolf, especially in their focus on character, rather than description. I have chosen James's The Turn of the Screw and The Wings of the Dove along with Woolf's To the Lighthouse and The Waves to study with Wright's Prairie and Usonian residences. Each chapter looks at one novel and Wright's corresponding work during approximately the same time period. By connecting literature and architecture, the thesis provides new ways of thinking about the two disciplines, especially concerning interiority and consciousness. James, Woolf, and Wright are all experimenting with time and space to create a unified experience, and the striking parallels between their work deserves more attention.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Michaelsen, Carol, "Henry James, Virginia Woolf, And Frank Lloyd Wright: Interiority, Consciousness, Time, And Space In The Modernist Novel And The Home" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1063.