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The American Isherwood$
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James J. Berg and Chris Freeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816683611

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816683611.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

A Whole without Transcendence

A Whole without Transcendence

Isherwood, Woolf, and the Aesthetics of Connection

(p.63) 5 A Whole without Transcendence
The American Isherwood

William R. Handley

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter reads Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel A Single Man and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway as well as James Doolin’s paintings of Los Angeles in order to show how aesthetics relates to social and political reality and the ethical relation between ourselves and the environment. Through the lens of a single man, Isherwood challenges his readers, in a manner that metaphysical systems of thought also do, to understand the relation of all of the parts to a larger whole—both the larger whole of the novel and the world it represents. Isherwood delineates difference in sexuality with difference in economies and their consequent temporalities. Both A Single Man and Mrs. Dalloway realistically represent the failure of a collective relation between the subjective and the social.

Keywords:   novel, Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, James Doolin, paintings, Los Angeles, aesthetics, sexuality

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