The drama of divided attention in Henry James, D.H. Lawrence, and Virginia Woolf
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation traces in the representation of divided attention inscribed in the work of these authors—in James’s The Portrait of a Lady, The Princess Casamassima and The Bostonians, in Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love, and in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse—an intensely Romantic response to the disjunction of modernity. If these writers all were elucidated by the fragmentation of attention in modernity that preoccupies thinkers like Walter Benjamin and Jonathan Crary, they all imagined impassioned efforts to resist that fragmentation, seeking to evoke at least transient moments when vision is unified, taking in multiple lines of vision, distance, and perspective all at once. These writers resist or reject the idea that attention, in any given moment, constitutes a limited quantity of capital. This dissertation shows in some detail how the fiction of James, Lawrence, and Woolf actively opposes to the fragmentation of modernity a capacity for an integrative vision achieved through the collapse of two or more perspectives into one.