Saturday, December 4, 2010

Critical Article Summary

Knopp, Sherron E. "If I Saw You Would You Kiss Me?": Sapphism and the Subversiveness of Virginia Woolf's Orlando." PMLA 103.1 (1988): 24-34.
Knopp refers to Orlando as the longest love letter in history. She asserts that the physical portions of their relationship were very short-lived but very intense. She thinks it cheapens their love for each other when it is called an affair. Woolf spoke like she thought of Orlando as frivolous and almost a joke. Though, she was notoriously self-deprecating about her writing, she was especially hard on this book. People close to Woolf, including Vanessa thought the book was a way of getting over Vita. Some people liked to use the term homoemotionality to desexualize their relationship. “Critical discomfort with the novel mirrors biographical discomfort with the relationship” (25). Critics consider it to closely related to Vita's life story and an interlude between more serious works. Leonard took it more seriously than Virginia. Vita was well aware of Virginia’s madness and was afraid to arouse strong feelings because of it. “It is a fire with which I have no desire to play” 26. According to the article Virginia was very jealous of other women in Vita’s life. So she suggests this novel was to build intimacy rather than to create distance between the two. Virginia was aiming for clear mocking style language. Points out the fact that Orlando and the biographer never have a relationship—makes it less biographical. The truth in Orlando is about sapphistry. Whimsy/truth/ humor are mixed together. Fadermen (critic) uses the whimsy to hide the lesbian content. The flip “puts a strain on contemporary language) (30). Knopp also thinks this is Woolf’s public gift to Vita.

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