This volume analyses Virginia Woolf’s novels through a philosophical lens, providing an interpretive overview of her works through Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic ontology. The text argues that interpretation itself is the central subject matter of Woolf’s novels: in order to understand these novels in all of their complexity and depth, it is both useful and helpful to comprehend the interpretive pillars that inform these narratives. Indeed, interpretation became a central theme during the Modernist movement, and Woolf’s novels took part in this conversation. For his part, Gadamer was in important voice in these discussions, dedicating his life’s work to the concept of interpretation. Gadamer focused on the universality of interpretation, arguing that it is inescapable and irrevocably bound up with existence. In many ways, Woolf’s novels represent an enactment of Gadamer’s philosophy, as they emphasize the radical questionability of the world—what this interpretive imperative requires of its participants and the potential yield that may result. On the other end, Gadamer’s philosophy acquires a concrete praxis when applied to Woolf’s novels. His philosophy hinges on the universality of interpretation as it manifests itself in daily existence; the literary text and its interpretation participate in this universality and is shaped by it.
From Joyce to Rushdie, Modernism to Food Writing, Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Literature looks at both the literature and culture of the 20th century. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside religion, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, travel, class, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.