Advertisement

Virginia Woolf

  • Tracy Hargreaves

Abstract

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

Keywords

Literary Text Modern Literature Woman Writer Dark Pool Homosexual Desire 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Jane Marcus, ‘Sapphistory: The Woolf and the Well’, in Karla Jay and Joanne Glasgow, eds, Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions, London: Onlywomen Press 1992, p. 167.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Jane Marcus ‘“Taking the Bull by the Udders”: Sexual Difference in Virginia Woolf — a Conspiracy Theory’ in Jane Marcus, ed., Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury: A Centenary Celebration, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987 p. 166.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Michèle Barrett, Virginia Woolf: Women and Writing, London: The Women’s Press 1979.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Morag Shiach, Introduction to Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. xvii.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Stephen Heath The Sexual Fix, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elaine Showalter, A Literature of Their Own, London: Virago, 1986, p. 288.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    M.E. Kelsey, ‘Virginia Woolf and the She-Condition’, Sewanee Review, October–December 1931, in Virginia Woolf: The Critical Heritage, ed. Robin Majumdar and Allen McLaurin, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975, pp. 255–6 and 260–2.Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    Stella McNichol, Virginia Woolf and the Poetry of Fiction, London and New York: Routledge, 1990, p. 9.Google Scholar
  9. Diane Filby Gillespie, ‘Virginia Woolf’s Miss La Trobe: the Artist’s Last Struggle Against Masculine Values’, Women and Literature, 5:1, 1977, pp. 38–9.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    Linden Peach, Virginia Woolf, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000. p. 151Google Scholar
  11. Laura Doan, Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture, New York: Columbia, 2001Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Lisa Rado, The Modern Androgyne Imagination: A Failed Sublime, Charlottesville and London: Virginia University Press, 2000, p. 169.Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Makiko Minow-Pinkney, Virginia Woolf and the Problem of the Subject: Feminine Writing in the Major Novels, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1987, p. 131Google Scholar
  14. Catharine R. Stimpson also describes Vita Sackville-West as ‘a sequential rather than a simultaneous androgyne’, in ‘The Androgyne and the Homosexual’, Where the Meanings Are, New York and London: Methuen, 1988, p. 56.Google Scholar
  15. 26.
    Victoria Glendinning, Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984, p. 242.Google Scholar
  16. 31.
    D.H. Lawrence, Fantasia of the Unconscious, New York: Thomas Selzer, 1922, p. 87.Google Scholar
  17. 32.
    Sarah Annes Brown, The Metamorphoses of Ovid: From Chaucer to Ted Hughes, London: Duckworth, 1999Google Scholar
  18. 37.
    Carl Jung, ‘Anima and Animus’, in Aspects of the Feminine, trans. R.F.C. Hull, London and New York: Ark, 1989, p. 99.Google Scholar
  19. 38.
    Isobel Armstrong, The Radical Aesthetic, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, p. 239.Google Scholar
  20. 39.
    Maria di Battista, Virginia Woolfs Major Novels: The Fables of Anon, New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1980, p. 129.Google Scholar
  21. 43.
    Rachel Bowlby, ed., Orlando, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp. lxiv–xlv.Google Scholar
  22. Karen Lawrence: ‘The Freudian pre-Oedipal child is bisexual; the little girl a little man until she “falls” into sexual division, a trajectory comically revised in Orlando’s psycho-sexual development’, Modern Fiction Studies, 38:1, 1992, pp. 253–77, at p. 255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 47.
    Suzanne Young, ‘The Unnatural Object of Modernist Aesthetics: Artifice in Orlando’, in Unmanning Modernism: Gendered Re-Readings, ed. Elizabeth Jane Harrison and Shirley Peterson, Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1997, p. 172.Google Scholar
  24. 48.
    Virginia Woolf, Women and Fiction: The Manuscript Versions of A Room of One’s Own, ed. S.P. Rosenbaum, Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.Google Scholar
  25. 50.
    Nigel Nicolson, Portrait of a Marriage, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1973, p. 212.Google Scholar
  26. 51.
    Karen Lawrence, ‘Orlando’s Voyage Out’, Modern Fiction Studies, 38:1, 1992, p. 271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 55.
    Nancy L. Paxton, George Eliot and Herbert Spencer: Feminism, Evolutionism, and the Reconstruction of Gender, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991, p. 17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tracy Hargreaves 2005

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations