Forum Philosophicum

Volume 28, Issue 2, Autumn 2023

Małgorzata HołdaOrcid-ID
Pages 291-317

From Where Does She Speak?
Women’s Artistic (Self)manifestations in Modernism: A Hermeneutics of Female Creativity

This article investigates the rise of the feminine creative voice in the age of modernism through the lens of Virginia Woolf’s fictional and nonfictional writings. Her invaluable insights into the long history of women’s subjugation, as well as the fortunes of her contemporaries, provide a framework for an examination of how women established their position as capable members of society in the changing modern milieu. This essay examines Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, and her polemical essay A Room of One’s Own, with a view to demonstrating modern women’s path to creating their artistic identity. Drawing on Paul Ricoeur’s notion of narrative identity, I investigate women’s unique way of (re) gaining their confidence and articulating their own voice during the process of self-formation. Following Woolf’s lead, I consider their double status: as both an object of fascination in works of literature and a source of oppression in real life. I also use Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophy of historically effected consciousness (Wirkungsgeschichtes Bewusstsein) to reveal the productive interpretative distance that can help us unravel the complexities of the historical and contingent nature of the development of the female artistic genius. An interrogation of women’s imaginative self-manifestations opens the way to the discovery of crucial truths that pertain to the hermeneutics of female creativity.