Vita and Virginia: The Work and Friendship of V. Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf

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When Virginia Woolf first met Vita Sackville-West at Clive Bell's home in 1922, she wrote that Vita made her feel 'virgin, shy, & schoolgirlish'. But over the next three years Vita charmed away her shyness, and at the end of 1925 made Virginia her lover. Vita and Virginia examines the creative intimacy between the two women, interpreting both their relationship and their work in the light of their experience as married lesbians. The contradictions and conflicts of their situation are worked out through the construction of different narratives of femininity, in letters, novels, diaries, and other texts. The book discusses the two women's continual renegotiation of what it means to be female, and suggests that the mutual exchange of different versions of womanhood is crucial to the development of their friendship. Vita and Virginia offers innovative readings of both women's fiction, their autobiographical texts, and a long-overdue study of Sackville-West's work as a biographer and novelist. Emphasizing wider contexts, Suzanne Raitt assesses the links between homosexual desire and literary innovation, public politics and private lives. Her work provides an invaluable new perspective on the relations between sexuality and feminism in modernism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198122777
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

University of London
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Gallivanting with Campbell: Orlando and Biography 17
2 'Moral Eugenics': The Working-Class Fiction of V. Sackville-West 41
3 'Maternal Explanation': Autobiography and Gender 62
4 'A Private Matter': V. Sackville-West's Later Novels 87
5 'The Girl beside me': V. Sackville-West and the Mystics 117
6 'By what Name shall we call Death?': Virginia Woolf's The Waves 146
Afterword 166
Appendix A: Vita Sackville-West 170
Appendix B: Virginia Woolf 172
Bibliography 173
Index 191
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