Gender Politics in Artistic Creation: The Growth Narratives and Aesthetic Visions of Stephen Dedalus and Lily Briscoe Open Access

Lee, Chaejin (2017)

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The künstlerroman genre reflects gendered challenges facing male and female artists-to-be in their shared pursuit of aesthetic autonomy. The narratives of Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Lily Briscoe in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse offer a unique comparative study of the characters' negotiations with the normative gender constructs in their paths to claiming an artistic identity. The autobiographical dimension in these works reveals the rhetoric of autonomy as used to express the authors' distress toward the social environments from which the characters seek emancipation. The inevitably incomplete projects of autonomy extend the modernist bildungsroman tradition of stunted growth, open-ended closure, and a complicated notion of progress. I demonstrate how voyeurism and formalism, respectively employed by Stephen and Lily, shift from their initial roles as obstacles to facilitators of growth. The two aesthetic techniques ultimately allow the characters to advance past their initial purviews of gender and reimagine their gender identities. I propose that Stephen's queerness and Lily's androgyny grant them the agency to negotiate their visions of artistic identity in relation to the larger social world.

Table of Contents

Introduction (1)

Chapter 1. Gender Politics in Künstlerroman (6)

Chapter 2. From a Barrier to an Enabler: The Shifting Roles of Voyeurism and Formalism (25)

Chapter 3. Queerness and Androgyny (47)

Conclusion (60)

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