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Virginia Woolf and Gilles Deleuze: Cinematic e-motion and the mobile subject

Abbs, C. (2005) Virginia Woolf and Gilles Deleuze: Cinematic e-motion and the mobile subject. IM: Interactive Media, 1 .

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Virgina Woolf’s legacy to women has always been of great significance in that writers have persistently returned to her work for inspiration. My purpose here is to suggest that her work might also be useful towards progress in feminist film theory.

This paper is about cinematic movement and the presence of the subject created by movement, as well as the subject as movement. I argue that the subject in Woolf’s writing is produced by e-motion. The reason for my construal of the term e-motion is to understand vertigo as an emotion of the subject and to recognize the subject as the sensation of vertiginous movement in the text. While Woolf’s essay “The Cinema” gives valuable insights it does not explore her full theoretical potential that appears in her novelistic practice. In accordance with Deleuze’s theory on cinema, I posit that Woolf’s cinematic writing has four layers: camera positions, the sensation of the text, the compositional viewpoint as in the sense of the text being composed by a subject from multiple viewpoints, and the production of the subject as metaphysical transference from camera into text space. In other words, it is argued as the paper progresses that the production of the subject, created out of e-motion, produces/is the sensation of the body as movement.

[S]o much of our thinking and feeling is connected with seeing, some residue of visual emotion which is of no use either to painter or to poet may still await cinema.
-Virginia Woolf, "The Cinema"

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: National Academy of Screen and Sound
Copyright: © IM/NASS 2005
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