S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) 영학논집(English Studies) 영학논집(English Studies) No.36 (2016)
『막간』의 문명, 자연, 자연사 : Civilization, Nature, and Natural History in Between the Acts
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
- 영학논집, Vol.36, pp. 47-68
- This essay argues that the relationship between civilization and nature is a central theme in Between the Acts (1941), Virginia Woolf s last novel. Assuming the false dichotomy between man and nature, previous studies, most notably those under the heading of ecological approaches, often fell into a misguided reading of the novel as a tribute to nature, an escapist fantasy of primitivism. The natural world as depicted in the novel, however, is not an atemporal one. Rather, it has its own history with direction and movement that seem so conspicuously lacking in human history in the English countryside of 1939, where the novel is set. The novel comprises two main narratives―a regular day in Pointz Hall and the country pageant directed by Miss La Trobe―and there is a pronounced eschatological undertone in both: the residents and guests of the house find themselves stuck in limbo, while the pageant announces that the history of England is coming to an end and only discordance and catastrophe are in order. Just when the pathos reaches its height, however, nature manifests itself in front of the audience and reminds them of the fact that, even when all civilizations perish, the natural world will carry on. In such a broadened context of time and space―and only in it, the novel seems to argue―can humans contrive to bring about a new history.