MA Dissertation: A Hermeneutical Approach to the Process of Artistic Creation in Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka according to Paul Ricoeur
I studied Humanities and Spanish Philology at the University of Navarra (Spain), and I’m currently doing a MA in Comparative Literature at Kent University (UK). My main interest is in European Modernism, especially English and German, but I also enjoy topics like Children Literature or Literary Theory in general. I hope this blog becomes a free space for discussion particularly in these fields. My intention is to share some thoughts, especially those which appear spontaneously in my mind and find no other way of expression. Further points for research could be born from this exchange.
In my MA Dissertation I analyse how Woolf and Kafka approach their fictional works from a very subjective perspective, and conceive them as part of their personal experiences and inner life. The literary work becomes a self-expression and a path towards self-knowledge for both the writer and the reader in the act of whether writing or reading. Fiction can be considered as a metaphor of the authors’ own subjectivity rather than just merely fictional works. At this point hermeneutics become important to find the meaning of the work in relation to its reference, which I will argue to be the author’s sense of existence and living experiences. At the same time, the reader completes his or her own meaning in the act of reading and interpreting the signs of the work. This interpretation expresses the personal approach of the reader towards life and himself, and in doing so, the act of deciphering the signs of the novel becomes an act of self-expression, encounter and understanding. The concept of ‘living-metaphor’ by Ricoeur is the centre of this analysis as it considers language and meaning as something alive, something constantly in evolution as the subject himself. Thus, the work remains alive once written, similar as how Woolf and Kafka conceived their own writing, and its openness to different possibilities is, according to Ricoeur, not relativism but subjectivism, personalism, a path through which the subject affirms his authenticity. The work begins in the author’s act of writing and finishes in the fulfilment of the reader, and the work has suffered a process of recovering its own meaning from one person to another when simultaneously it has become a path of personal fulfilment. It takes and gives meaning from one subject to another;it communicates subjectivities beyond time and space; it is alive.