Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Critical Article Summary

Hovey, Jaime. "'Kissing a Negress in the Dark': Englishness as a Masquerade in Woolf's Orlando." PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 112.3 (1997): 393-404

Jaime Hovey discusses Orlando’s gender ambivalences and their relationship to Nationalism. In this article the author writes that Orlando is roughly based on the life of Vita, Virginia’s lover. The author also writes that racial purity, as an Anglo-Saxon, is a large part of Orlando’s identity, but this signifier fades as Orlando becomes a woman. This is because although the same “racial purity” still exists it is no longer identified with the same power. She also believes that the novel is a study of white, female homosexuality. The author believes the controversy in sexuality in the novel is grounded by Orlando’s race and class standing. She also believes the tension is alleviated by the story’s many ambiguities. I think, to simplify what she is talking about is that the nitty gritty details are left out of her/his magical sex-change. Orlando goes to bed a beautiful rich man, and wakes up a beautiful woman. This removes any explicit sexuality from the text so the reader can focus on the differences between Orlando’s experience as a man and woman. Although I really enjoyed this article and found it very insightful I'm not sure it'll be much help to me as I do my project. This is simply because it focuses more on English-ness and race then gender. I might cite some small parts that talk about gender as a side issue.

No comments:

Post a Comment