Resonances of Love and Social Complexity in the Circadian Novel: Virginia Woolf, Christopher Isherwood, and Mulk Raj Anand
Date of Award
Eleanor McNees, Ph.D.
Christopher Isherwood, Love, Mulk Raj Anand, Social complexity, Virginia Woolf
Both Mulk Raj Anand and Christopher Isherwood admired and borrowed from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway to build their own circadian novels. This thesis attempts to apply three major theories from three different disciplines - narrative theory, sociology, and psychology - to three major circadian novels to explain how societal pressures and the past influence the protagonists' connections with others. Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (1925), Anand's Untouchable (1935), and Isherwood's A Single Man (1964) all use a circadian (single-day) structure to explore how the past influences every decision in a single day. This thesis combines Michel de Certeau's Theory of the Everyday with M. M. Bakhtin's narrative chronotope to explore how the time limitation of the single day provides a specific glimpse into the minute particulars of daily lives. In this limited space, the author compresses time and space, and everyday actions compound emotions and feelings of connection to and among people. To explore fully these emotions and feelings, this thesis uses John Alan Lee's Colors of Love to define the complexities of love exhibited in a single day.
While scholars have analyzed both Mrs. Dalloway and A Single Man for their LGBTQ+ themes, they largely neglect Untouchable, and previous research has not placed the three in conversation together, despite the fact that Mrs. Dalloway links all three. Anand worked with Virginia and Leonard Woolf, as he writes in Conversations in Bloomsbury (1981), while Isherwood had been rereading Mrs. Dalloway while writing A Single Man.
This thesis uses de Certeau's Theory of the Everyday and Bakhtin's theory of the chronotope as a lens to analyze time and space as they affect complexities of love to argue how society and the past affect characters' manifestations of love and connection. Among all three novels, one of the most pronounced connections is the repression of socially-inappropriate love and the characters' ways of displacing that love, and de Certeau, Bakhtin, and Lee offer language and theory to see this connection more clearly.
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Peters, Mikayla Marie, "Resonances of Love and Social Complexity in the Circadian Novel: Virginia Woolf, Christopher Isherwood, and Mulk Raj Anand" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1609.
Received from ProQuest
Mikayla Marie Peters
Literature, English literature