Virginia Woolf

  • Tracy Hargreaves


When Virginia Woolf gave the two talks at Cambridge that she later revised as A Room of One’s Own, she had in her mind the other literary event du jour: the trial of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness. The contiguity of these two events prompted Jane Marcus to construct a lesbian sub-text to the speeches, reading them as examples of ‘sap-phistry’ — the seduction of the woman reader by the woman writer.1 Woolf made an evident allusion to the obscenity trial then in progress when she teased her audience with the possibility of what two women, Chloe and Olivia, might have shared:

The words covered the bottom of the page; the pages had stuck. While fumbling to open them there flashed into my mind the inevitable policeman … the order to attend the Court … the verdict; this book is obscene …2


Literary Text Modern Literature Woman Writer Dark Pool Homosexual Desire 
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Copyright information

© Tracy Hargreaves 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy Hargreaves
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of LeedsUK

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