Date of Submission

Spring 2019

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Literature

Project Advisor 1

Marina van Zuylen

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This project is concerned with an ethics of mediation, as might allow us to see the existence of the world as miraculous. To contextualize these terms, as involve the constraints of personal autonomy and understanding, this first chapter of this inquiry is a comparison of Simone Weil and Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophies; from this comparison comes a recognition of the importance of 'mediation' in one's understanding of value, of an "absence that is felt," which argues for an attention constituted by one's relation to the world and to others. The second chapter introduces how Weil's concept of 'reading'—that is, her conception of how one 'reads' meaning in the world—has both an ethical and theological dimension, as well as introducing Virginia Woolf's fiction as exemplary of how this 'reading' is a principle of literature; through a comparison with Wittgenstein's notion of 'aspect-perception', it argues for a kind of affective proprioception, which would place one's actions in relation to a dimension both aesthetic and ethical. The third chapter is a study of Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse', which demonstrates the comparative ethics of literature, as a valuation of characters' 'reading' of others and the world is both implicit and explicit in Woolf's narration; this study profiles four characters—Lily Briscoe, Mr. Ramsay, Charles Tansley, and Mrs. Ramsay—and centers Lily Briscoe's painting as a technique of mediation expressive of Woolf's narrative style, and of a certain ethics. This projects ends on the question of miracle—and gestures to a gratuitous world.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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