The foregoing chapters trace a profound literary response to a redistribution of the perceptible, a socio-cultural turning away from the tangible experience of existence to forms of abstraction. Drawing upon eighteenth-century empiricism, both Austen and Woolf oppose individualism and regimes that assert mind over matter. Disembodiment of experience, they show, veils our shared creaturely existence, awareness of which underpins the common life and fellowship. For both writers, embodied self, things, others, culture, and physical universe are inseparable from the compound existence that is life. Things constitute self, a shared world and the infrastructure of national and global reality. Neither Austen nor Woolf is revolutionary; they do not seek a redistribution of wealth or the social order. They articulate a redistribution of the perceptible. The experimental worldly realism, they practice, especially the innovative use of focalisation, evokes horizontal, mutually determining relationships between embodied people, things social and physical universes, an egalitarian writerly space in which potentially nothing is mute or invisible.
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