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Jaesik ChungIn her short story "Sterne's Ghost," Virginia Woolf tackles a provocative question, namely how should a writer encounter the creative spirit of great literary antecedent and, moreover, transform it into his or her own works of art? When Woolf praises Sterne's Tristram Shandy as a great novel full of poetry, I argue that her brilliant but brief characterization of the novel does not suggest that Tristram Shandy is poetry in the sense of genre but that it expresses the diverse and dynamic rhythms of becoming in life, which cannot be captured by the established system of narrative and the solid frame of representation of the subject. From the perspective, it can be said that the poetic spirit of Tristram Shandy ultimately refer to an ontological principle of how to live and create a new mode of existence. By employing Deleuze's notion of'the rhythm of the witness,'I examine how Virginia Woolf encounters Sterne's ghost, and transforms it into the essential spirit of her essay on the theory of reading and writing in her experimental and poetic novel, The Waves. In this context, the rhythm of witness does not refer to the gaze of an observer or spectator-voyeur but the movement of an attendant who undergoes the dynamic and violently transformative encounter in the core of the event. Occupying the dual role of a literary critic and writer in the rhythm of witness, Woolf testifies to the creative power of Sterne's ghost in her essays on Tristram Shandy and, as a result of her profound encounter with the power, creates the beautifully poetic rhythms of The Waves. Through the dynamic and diverse rhythms of becoming, which constitutes the core of the poetic rhythms in Tristram Shandy and The Waves, Sterne, Woolf, and Deleuze can be remembered as great figures who witness the breadth of becoming in life and express its power in literature and philosophy.