Hello all! My name is Drew Blanchette. I'm 21 years old and a class member of the Virginia Woolf Seminar. First and foremost, I must warn potential viewers that I have no knowledge of Virginia Woolf's work. I am hoping that as the class progresses and I have a chance to read her apparently fabulous works (or so I have been told) I will develop some knowledge and appreciation. As my blogs increase perhaps the reader will pick up on my progression! Hopefully whoever looks over my site will enjoy my posts and not be too bored by my analyzing attempts. Thanks ahead of time for viewing my site!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Critical Commentary: Sun Cycles=Fertility Rituals

Patricia Cramer

Jane Harrison and Lesbian Plots: The Absent Lover in Virginia Woolf's The Waves

Patricia Cramer opens her article, Jane Harrison and Lesbian Plots: The Absent Lover in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, with Virginia Woolf’s intentions behind her novel The Waves. Cramer says that Woolf wanted to invent a new type of literature and take modern conventions beyond anything done before. In doing so, Cramer believes that Woolf was taking a step away from male modernist’s conceptions on gender and sexuality, and was experimenting with a feminist and lesbian mindset. In earlier works, Woolf states that she finds it difficult to capture the female narrative, and in A Room of One‘s Own insinuates that someone should embark on writing a lesbian plot. Cramer says that Woolf was inspired through Jane Harrison’s description of a ritual drama centered on women. Cramer reveals through letters, diary entries, and essays that Woolf considered Harrison, who was a classicist and archaeologist, a visionary for women and respected her deeply. Furthermore, Cramer reveals that Harrison’s own lesbian relationship mirrored Woolf’s affair with Vita Sackville-West. The article explains how Harrison and Woolf both held the same atheist mystical views as well as a feminist mindset. Cramer says that Harrison believed in the mystical forces that lurked beneath the surface of everyday life, and this was the same essence that Woolf wanted to capture in The Waves. The pagan worship of the female and fertility that interested Harrison are reflected in The Waves. The sun cycle that organizes the novel is based on what Cramer says are fertility rites that were identified by Harrison. Cramer believes that Harrison’s gynocentric rituals helped to mould Woolf’s idea of a novel that keeps women in the center and not existing around the edges.

Cramer, Patricia. "Jane Harrison and Lesbian Plots: The Absent Lover in Virginia Woolf's The Waves." Rpt. in Virginia Woolf. Stamford: University of Conneticut. 443-63.

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