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!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Critical Article

De Gay, Jane. "Virginia Woolf's Feminist Historiography in Orlando." Critical Survey 19.1 (2007): 62-72. Print.

Jane De Gay’s article, “Virginia Woolf’s Feminist Historiography in Orlando”, develops the argument that Virginia Woolf’s novel, Orlando, is her attempt at writing a female literary history, albeit a fantastical one, but still a history that promotes feminism. Gay’s argument stems from multiple statements that Woolf made in A Room of One’s Own about the lack of female literary history that had been yet to be discovered. Woolf urges her audience of collegiate women that it is their duty to discover the history’s female writers. Gay notes that although Woolf didn’t personally contribute an alternative literary history, she believes that Orlando is an example of a literary history and how it pertains to gender and its effect on the writer’s experiences. Since Woolf’s character of Orlando lives for 350 years and changes gender, Woolf is able to examine the different contexts of time and gender and how they affected the writing of the ages. Gay says that Woolf shows how when Orlando is a woman, her writing is not acknowledged until the 20th century, and she is forced to hide her work in the previous years. Gay claims that this representation is very important because Woolf wants to emphasize the constraints that have been put on the female writer. Gay also says that she mocks the male idea that each period should have a “spirit of the age” that describes the writing of the time. Gay believes that Woolf wanted to reveal that the past could not be separated from the present, and that each period of time builds upon the other. By having Orlando live, change, and grow throughout the 350 years, he is a metaphor for the molding and changing that happens in literature.

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