'arrange whatever pieces come your way' : a process-relational reimagining of the works of Virginia Woolf

  • Katelynn Elizabeth Carver

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


The field of process relational thought, as articulated most foundationally in Alfred North Whitehead’s 1929 monograph Process and Reality, has enjoyed a varied and diverse near-century’s worth of growth across fields of philosophy, theology, and beyond. Its central flexibility as a metaphysical framework characterized by an understanding of process as perpetual becoming allows it to traverse and contradict, in a postsecularly-reflective posture, classically held assumptions about the distinctions between the religious/spiritual and the secular, what it means for something to be sacred or hold a sacral significance, and how the multifaceted modern world interacts with both categories when the lines between them have become less blurred than they are ever-intermingling and in constant flux. From this orienting point, process thought stands as a fertile conversation partner for the literary works of Virginia Woolf, a modernist author whose categorization as “secular” is historically affirmed but for whom, within a postsecular present—and the understandings of cultural movements therein redefined—such a label begs reevaluation. By intentionally bringing process thought to bear upon the works of Woolf—specifically The Waves, To the Lighthouse, and Mrs Dalloway—said reevaluation proceeds in earnest as the parallels and interconnections between the two result in the revelation of novel and generative insights about both Woolf and process relationality alike that add fruitfully to scholarship and inquiry regarding both entities, are poised to inspire future work done in both disciplines, and demonstrate the pursuit of interdisciplinarity as a viable and generative means of rigorous academic inquiry.
Date of Award16 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorGavin Richard Hopps (Supervisor)


  • Virginia Woolf
  • Alfred North Whitehead
  • Process metaphysics
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Process philosophy
  • Process theology
  • Post-secularism

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 11 May 2028

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