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"BUT THIS IS WHAT I SEE; THIS IS WHAT I SEE": RE-IMAGINING GENDERED SUBJECTIVITY THROUGH THE WOMAN ARTIST IN PHELPS, JOHNSTONE, AND WOOLF

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Date Issued:
2010
Abstract/Description:
Since the publication of Laura MulveyÂÂ's influential article ÂÂ"Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,ÂÂ" in which she identifies the pervasive presence of the male gaze in Hollywood cinema, scholars have sought to account for the female spectator in her paradigm of gendered vision. This thesis suggests that women writers have long debated the problem of the female spectator through literary depictions of the female artist. Women writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuriesÂÂ--including Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Edith Johnstone, and Virginia WoolfÂÂ--recognized the power of the woman artist to undermine the trope of the male gazing subject and a passive female object. Examining PhelpsÂÂ's The Story of Avis (1877), JohnstoneÂÂ's A Sunless Heart (1894), and WoolfÂÂ's To the Lighthouse (1927) illustrates how the woman artistÂÂ's active vision disrupts MulveyÂÂ's ÂÂ"active/male and passive/femaleÂÂ" binary of vision. PhelpsÂÂ's painter-heroine Avis destabilizes the power of the male gaze not only by exerting her own vision, but also by acting as an active object to manipulate the way she is seen. Johnstone uses artist Gasparine to demonstrate the dangers of vision shaped by either aesthetic or political conventions, suggesting that even feminist idealism can promote the objectification of its heroines. Finally, Woolf redefines the terms of objectification through painter Lily Briscoe, whose vision imbues material objects with subjectivity, thereby going beyond the boundaries between male and female to blur the distinction between subject and object. Through their novels, Phelps, Johnstone, and Woolf suggest that depictions of human experience need to be radically re-thought in order to adequately represent the complexity of subjectivity.
Title: "BUT THIS IS WHAT I SEE; THIS IS WHAT I SEE": RE-IMAGINING GENDERED SUBJECTIVITY THROUGH THE WOMAN ARTIST IN PHELPS, JOHNSTONE, AND WOOLF.
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Name(s): Wayne, Heather, Author
Jones, Anna, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2010
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Since the publication of Laura MulveyÂÂ's influential article ÂÂ"Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,ÂÂ" in which she identifies the pervasive presence of the male gaze in Hollywood cinema, scholars have sought to account for the female spectator in her paradigm of gendered vision. This thesis suggests that women writers have long debated the problem of the female spectator through literary depictions of the female artist. Women writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuriesÂÂ--including Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Edith Johnstone, and Virginia WoolfÂÂ--recognized the power of the woman artist to undermine the trope of the male gazing subject and a passive female object. Examining PhelpsÂÂ's The Story of Avis (1877), JohnstoneÂÂ's A Sunless Heart (1894), and WoolfÂÂ's To the Lighthouse (1927) illustrates how the woman artistÂÂ's active vision disrupts MulveyÂÂ's ÂÂ"active/male and passive/femaleÂÂ" binary of vision. PhelpsÂÂ's painter-heroine Avis destabilizes the power of the male gaze not only by exerting her own vision, but also by acting as an active object to manipulate the way she is seen. Johnstone uses artist Gasparine to demonstrate the dangers of vision shaped by either aesthetic or political conventions, suggesting that even feminist idealism can promote the objectification of its heroines. Finally, Woolf redefines the terms of objectification through painter Lily Briscoe, whose vision imbues material objects with subjectivity, thereby going beyond the boundaries between male and female to blur the distinction between subject and object. Through their novels, Phelps, Johnstone, and Woolf suggest that depictions of human experience need to be radically re-thought in order to adequately represent the complexity of subjectivity.
Identifier: CFE0003291 (IID), ucf:48491 (fedora)
Note(s): 2010-08-01
M.A.
Arts and Humanities, Department of English
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): gaze
subjectivity
gender
art
vision
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
Edith Johnstone
Virginia Woolf
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0003291
Restrictions on Access: campus 2015-07-01
Host Institution: UCF

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