Prof. Dr. Sonja Vitanova-Strezova,

Authors country of origin: Northern Macedonia
Institutional affiliation: Professor at Ss Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje,


This work draws on Eliot’s essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” to examine whether his idea of tradition is conveyed in Woolf’s last novel Between the Acts. Eliot argues that an author should write with an awareness of the whole literary tradition which he calls “historical sense”. This concept paradoxically includes the pastness and the presence of the past and the temporal and the timeless simultaneously. Eliot imagines tradition as an order constituted by the past works of art, but also by the new ones that constantly continue and change the order. Thus, the historical awareness of the past and the dialectical process of literary history lie at the core of Eliot’s understanding of tradition. This work selects Between the Acts as a proper subject to test Eliot’s idea due to the novel’s preoccupation with history and time. The historical pageant that represents scenes and extracts from English history becomes the main means for conveying the sense of history in the novel. Individual identity blurs into collectivity in the novel’s historical pageant. Constantly created, recreated, and continued, history implies change within permanence in the novel. The multi-layered past in Between the Acts splits up into scenes of history and prehistory that incessantly impinge on the present and imply the future. Thus, despite its general time confusion, Woolf’s novel represents the changing but permanent stream of human history into which all the juxtaposed times are fused together and ultimately reconciled. We conclude that Between the Acts embodies Eliot’s idea of tradition.

Key words: tradition, historical sense, dialectical process, history, prehistory, past, present, future, change, permanence.

Volume 4.No.1(2021): April (Humanities Session)

ISSN 2661-2666 (Online) International Scientific Journal Monte (ISJM)
ISSN 2661-264X (Print)

DOI : 10.33807/monte.20211858


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