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By Murdoch, Iris; Murdoch, Jean Iris; Woolf, Virginia; Woolf, Adeline Virginia Stephen; Lazenby, Donna J.; Woolf, Virginia; Murdoch, Iris

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33 Once again, mystical readings are aligned with the emotional as assumed in opposition to the sophisticated rational, thereby compromising the rationality of Woolf ’s aesthetics. Indeed, Goldman’s depiction of mysticism more closely resembles Bertrand Russell’s affiliation of the mystical and emotional, and opposition of the mystical and rational: an aesthetic and epistemological position from which Woolf departs, as we shall see. Goldman’s reductive interpretation of Woolf ’s desire to ‘come to terms with these mystical feelings’, fails to do justice to Woolf ’s own descriptions of her experience and aesthetic purpose.

67 Jantzen is clear: the phenomena which James prioritises and emphasises as defining religious experience do not occupy a definitive position in the consciousness of the mystic. That position is occupied by the soul’s living relationship, in love, with the divine. The Mystical Everyday Now clearly, while we can, with Jantzen, argue that the occurrence and pursuit of particular psychic phenomena should not be considered definitive of Christian mysticism, we cannot identify what Jantzen does reveal to be central to Bernard’s and Julian’s mystical experience to be present in Woolf ’s literature as such.

Most importantly, though, it is in reaction to Marcus’ mistake here that Goldman resists the idea of a mystically influenced Woolf. It is Marcus’ claim that ‘from Caroline Stephen, Virginia Woolf learned to speak the language of the light,’20 which most concerns Goldman, precisely because Marcus identifies with this ‘language of the light’ a ‘rational mysticism’ which is claimed to belong to Woolf on account of her lacking education. It is in order to emphasise Woolf ’s educational history that Goldman believes it necessary to discredit Marcus’ theory of mystical resources: resources Marcus has vaguely identified with memory, visions and voices.

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A Mystical Philosophy: Transcendence and Immanence in the Works of Virginia Woolf and Iris Murdoch by Murdoch, Iris; Murdoch, Jean Iris; Woolf, Virginia; Woolf, Adeline Virginia Stephen; Lazenby, Donna J.; Woolf, Virginia; Murdoch, Iris


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