[Vwoolf] Teaching Orlando

SUSAN FRIEDMAN ssfriedm at wisc.edu
Thu Jul 18 11:35:20 EDT 2019


I am fascinated by how *Orlando* has come into, gone out of, and come back
into favor with students over the 5 decades I have been teaching Woolf. For
now, the interest is very much related to the exciting new developments in
feminist and trans theory on non-binary concepts of gender, the pressing
civil rights and safety issues related to trans people, and the new ways of
thinking about gender that trans issues generates. Margaret Homans has a
wonderful article on *Orlando* in the contexts of current trans debates.
Here's the citation:
Margaret Homans, "On reading Woolf's *Orlando* as Transgender Text."
In *Contemporary
Revolutions: Turning Back to the Future in 21st-Century Literature and Art*,
212-36, a book I edited for Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2018. For some other
discussions of they many recyclings and adaptations of *Orlando* that I
like, see Pamela Caughie's "The Temporality of Modernist Life Writing in
the Era of Transexualism: Virginia Woolf *Orlando* and Elnar Wegener's *Man
into Woman*." *Modern Fictions Studies*59.3 (2013): 501-25; and Christine
Froula's "Orlando Lives: Virginia Woolf's *Orlando* in Global Adaptation
and Performance." In *Contemporary Woolf*, eds. Claire Davison-Pegon and
Anne-Marie Smith-DiBlasio. France: Presses Universitaires de la
Mediterranee, 2014, 233-37.
    I'm sure there are many more wonderful articles and book chapters
discussing *Orlando* in the context of current trans theory and history. I
have certainly found that Honors students are stimulated by reading some
criticism on Woolf and developing their own ideas in dialogue with scholars.
Susan Friedman

Susan Stanford Friedman
Hilldale Professor in the Humanities, Emerita
Virginia Woolf Professor of English and Women's Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
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