The Theme of Androgyny in the Work of Virginia Woolf
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This dissertation explores the theme of Androgyny in the work of Virginia Woolf through a selection of her writing, including Orlando, Mrs Dalloway, and A Room of One’s Own. Through a critical discussion of androgyny, which includes an in depth use of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1999), this dissertation discusses the way in which Woolf’s androgynous personality is conveyed through her writing, and particularly through her characters, all of whom seem to portray a specific message on Woolf’s behalf. Chapter one, "Orlando: Masquerade, Transgression and Transformation", focusses on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928). The main focus of this chapter is the way in which androgyny is conveyed through Woolf’s use of the masquerade of gender from man to woman, the physical transformation of Orlando into a woman and finally his emotional transgression. A comparison between Orlando and Shakespeare is discussed here in an attempt to highlight the significance of androgyny in literature. Chapter two, "Mrs Dalloway: Woolf’s Gender Crisis", provides an insight into the confusion of gender roles in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925). This chapter will focus on character relationships, and the way in which these highlight androgynous traits in both the characters of the text, and Woolf. Chapter Three, "A Room of One’s Own: Independent Women", discusses what can be argued as one of Woolf’s most powerful feminist texts, A Room of One’s Own (1928). In a discussion of the portrayal of female independence, the chapter provides an analysis of key characters in order to summarise the theme of androgyny in the text. In a conclusion to this dissertation, a summary of androgyny is made, particularly in the way in which it applies to Woolf’s work. The findings of this dissertation are outlined and the success of each chapter is discussed.
BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing
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