Vera Tobin

Elements of Surprise / Publications / Teaching / CV

“Joint Attention, To the Lighthouse, and Modernist Representations of Intersubjectivity.” English Text Construction, vol. 3, no. 2.
Reprinted in Textual Choices in Discourse: A View from Cognitve Linguistics, 2012. Eds. Barbara Dancygier, José Sanders, and Lieven Vandelanotte. John Benjamins.

This paper argues that literary modernism can be productively understood as a reflection on what happens when joint attention is frustrated in its operation. Experimental fictions of the early twentieth century frequently dramatize problems of joint attention that can be traced to the ultimate relation between author, reader, and text. Analysis of these dramatizations demonstrates the importance of this joint attentional trope, and suggests a fresh reading of the famous “phantom table” in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.