"Unfinished business" : mobility and possibility in Woolf, Rushdie, and Mitchell
Carlson, Bryn Alexandra
May 21, 2020
This thesis examines speed and motion as both politics and empowerment in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. I argue that these novels offer associative, movement as a form of resistance to the stilling, stabilizing effects imposed by masculine, colonial, and national forces. Using Paul Virilio’s arguments from Speed and Politics, Enda Duffy’s discussion of speed and modernity in The Speed Handbook, and Édouard Glissant’s notion of détournement from The Poetics of Relation, this thesis explores how movement is an important concept not just physically, but as a psychological dynamic and argues that the resistance to linearity, enclosure, certainty, and teleology are crucial for the ethical, relational recommendations made by each novel.
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