Eileen (Xiaoxi) Yu
The University of Otago (Department of Media, Film and Communications)
(citation: Yu, Eileen. 2017. ‘The Sun’s Eclipse and Fantasy of the Eye: Feminist Vision in Virginia Woolf’s “The Sun and the Fish”‘. Performance of the Real Working Papers 1 (1): 1-12)
YU The Sun’s Eye Downloadable PDF
Virginia Woolf’s story essay The Sun and the Fish is based on her experience of witnessing the 1927 total solar eclipse in London. In this essay, Woolf fantasizes the visual experience as an adventure of the eye, through which she guides the readers into a dreamlike space and evokes the disembodied spectatorship of the cinema. In this article, I investigate Woolf’s representation of the eclipse in analogy with the cinema. I suggest Woolf’s account of the ecliptic scenes as a rivalry between the sun and the moon alludes to the unbalanced relationship between her parents and thus manifests her feminist concerns. In this vein, I will also examine the eclipse essay in tandem with Woolf’s semi-biographical novel To the Lighthouse, in which she famously casts her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay. By doing so, I shall further contend the eclipse essay demonstrates Woolf’s resolution with the past through visual imaginations.