Friday, May 11, 2007

Virginia Woolf and Buddhism

I have read and loved Woolf for 20+ years, but I never understood the influence of eastern religion on her writing. Now that I know something about Buddhism I see that To the Lighthouse is all about impermanence, trying to stay present, trying to be the island in the raging sea (which is both time, and our thoughts). I did some web research and found this article on Woolf and eastern "mystical" religions. Though she resisted acknowledging these influences, they clearly came to her through the strong interest within her circle (T.S. Eliot, for instance), through William James, and through Buddhist books she had in her library. According to the same article, she had mystical experiences during periods of nervous exhaustion, when she was able to view herself from outside.

2 comments:

Kitti said...

Hello,
I am a university student from Hungary, Budapest and writing my MA thesis on Woolf and her approach on time. Could you please send me the article you mention here (the link does not work.
It would be greatly helpful for me!
Thank you so much!
Have a beautiful day,
Kitti

Ann said...

Hi Kitti (and all)--
I'm sorry the link is broken. Unfortunately I don't remember the original article. I was not really doing research on this topic--just browsing the web--so I never recorded the info anywhere else.

Lesson learned: nothing is forever, even on the Internet.