0 08 2009

"Unleashing the Underdog": Technology of Place in Virginia Woolf's Flush

Verita Sriratana

Abstract


"Technology," as both technical and common term, is often associated with scientific and industrial tools, techniques, and procedures. This academic paper, however, propounds that the term "technology" in its etymological roots epitomises not only the objectivity of science but also the subjectivity of arts. The concept of technology oscillates between binary poles of the concrete and the abstract and, by so doing, merges and disrupts those seemingly fixed binary oppositions. The dynamism of technology manifests itself most clearly in our understanding of place. "Technology of Place," the means by which an individual comes to understand place, embodies not only the concrete "architectural textures" perceived through sensory reception, but also the abstract ideas or "textual architectures" which form understandings of, and feelings towards, a particular place. Since it is made up of both tangible and intangible layers of texts, place can be "read" and approached as a text. Through the literature of place, one is able to read through the surface of place and interrogate its embedded discourse of power and technology of production. The hypothesis and conclusion of this essay will be attested and illustrated in a close analysis of Virginia Woolf's Flush, her "underdog" text which depicts the life story of the underdogs: the Victorian poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her pet. Published in 1933, this biography of a cocker spaniel investigates how dogs and women perceive the world and how they come to understand their places in it.

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ISSN 1749-9771