Baxter, Michael John Russell (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Perry Meisel's 1980 monograph The Absent Father: Virginia Woolf and Walter Pater remains the most substantial work on the relation between the two authors to date. In it Meisel engages in a 'psychoanalysis' of Woolf's texts in order to reveal Pater's repressed influence (1980, xiii), and his primary method is to identify affinities between Pater and Woolf's critical writing. Because of this, Meisel has provided a fairly comprehensive analysis of Woolf's criticism, but only a superficial analysis of her novels, identifying various points of correspondence, but paying little attention to how these relate to the larger meaning of each text. This thesis will supplement and sometimes challenge Meisel's observations, by examining texts from each major phase in Woolf's career: her early critical engagement with Pater in The Voyage Out, her mature appreciation of him in To the Lighthouse and Orlando, and her late ambivalence towards him in the last decade of her life.
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