10-13 lecture Woolf

10-13 lecture Woolf - I talked last time about Septimuss...

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I talked last time about Septimus’s condition—the way he has snapped back from a condition brought on by the war in which he could feel nothing, to a state in which he feels everything —as if his nerves are exposed. He has been so resolute in not feeling that now the repressed has returned: he feels too much, as if everything is connected, everything is terrifyingly alive. He feels he has a mission, to bring a message to mankind—as I said last time, it is as if he is Prometheus, tortured for wanting to give fire to mankind. We can call this “madness” or “shellshock” or in our contemporary language, PTSD, but it’s clear that for Woolf the disease is an expression of and an outgrowth of the broader problem, society’s emotional repression--and that Septimus’s madness, his loss of “proportion,” is, in a sense, his recapturing of the ability to feel that others have lost. So how does that society deal with S’s illness? Rezia’s mantra: “Dr. Holmes said there was nothing the matter with him.” Holmes and Bradshaw—two versions of medical ideology --“nothing the matter” [cure: more of the same: be a man] (the way many shellshocked soldiers were dealt with: implications of malingering) --vs Bradshaw (the way many shellshocked officers were dealt with)
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10-13 lecture Woolf - I talked last time about Septimuss...

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