dearest creature - Georgia O\u2019Leary Professor Goffman ENGL102-14 Research Paper Dearest Creature Virginia Woolf was known to be ahead of her time

dearest creature - Georgia Ou2019Leary Professor...

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Georgia O’LearyProfessor Goffman ENGL102-14Research PaperDearest CreatureVirginia Woolf was known to be ahead of her time in many ways. Her stream of consciousness style was innovative, and so was the subject matter she chose to write about. Her personal life and views greatly influenced the subjects of her work, inspiring themes of feminism, gender, and sexuality. A perfect example of this is her 1928 novel Orlando. Based on Woolf’s relationship with Vita Sackville-West, this book tells the story of Orlando, a 400-year-old, sex-changing protagonist, who lives his/her life in a free, norm-defying fashion. Orlandobroke barriers in the societal dialogue of gender and sexuality, making it one of Woolf’s most memorable and controversial works. Woolf has always been known to be an out-of-the-box-type of author. She chose to break away from the standard structure most writers around her were using, pioneering the stream of consciousness style she made famous. Other lesbian novels were published in the same year, likeRadclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and Djuna Barnes’ Ladies Almanack,however, Orlandowas the best received of them all. This isn’t saying much, seeing that if one of the books wasn’t privately printed, it was banned for its subject matter. Woolf’s was merely dismissed by the mainstream audience (Cook 40). It can now be argued that Orlandowas not necessarily a lesbiannovel, since the protagonist has relationships with both men and women, but Woolf was known to be either a lesbian or bisexual, therefore the novel is grouped in with the genre. O’Leary RP page 1
Not all of Woolf’s work is categorized like Orlandois, because this novel was special. It was inspired by her relationship with Vita Sackville-West, a poet, novelist, and gardener. The twomet in 1922, and their relationship lasted from 1923 to 1935. Woolf and Sackville-West bonded over their shared experience of abuse as children. Their bond resulted to emotional healing that Woolf had never known in the past, and this led to a romantic and sexual relationship between them (DeSalvo 195-214). During this relationship, Sackville-West was married to Sir Harold Nicolson, with whom she had an open marriage, giving them both the opportunity to have heterosexual and same-sex relationships throughout the years. Woolf was also married to Leonard Woolf, who was aware of the relationship between her and Sackville-West. There is documentation of letters written to Woolf and Sackville-West, showing the depth and passion of their relationship. These letters also give insight into how Sackville-West inspired Orlando, both the character and the storyline. The two were also involved in the Bloomsbury Group, a group of intellectuals who greatly influenced literature at the time (Pernas Parapar 8). One of the viewpoints shared by the group members was a free view of sexuality and gender. This goes to

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