Universitatea „Transilvania” din Braşov, Facultatea de Litere “Transilvania” University of Braşov, Faculty of Philology
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3 / 2013
Women in love in Virginia Woolf’s novels
The theme of women in love is a major one in Virginia Woolf ’s novels. Surprisingly, in spite of the writer’s interest in feminism and polemical issues such as sexual ambivalence, in spite of her attacks against the Victorian institutions among which marriage is the first, many female characters in her novels are presented as experiencing love in its romantic instance, with passionate imagination and soliloquies in front of the mirror. Rachel Vinrace, Clarissa Dalloway, Sally Seton, Clara Durat or the very young Elizabeth Dalloway are all impeccably educated young women. They all show interest in artistic, intellectual and even in scientific issues (Katherine Hillbery is fond of Mathematics and is a serious scholar of Latin and Greek). And, yet, when in love they behave hesitantly, they even dream of impossible solutions when their choice in marriage seems to be inappropriate (Iza Oliver or Mrs. Dalloway) they often find themselves facing the conflict between the two principles – the feminine and the masculine –. Some of them fear the physical love and standoff, the more sophisticated of them admit being in love with a man, but will not go further, because they do not believe in marriage (Rachel Vinrace in The Voyage Out). Others will even consider bisexuality as an option (Clarissa, for example in Mrs. Dalloway, or Orlando).
Keywords: women in love, physical love and affection, romantic passion, the institution of marriage, sexual ambivalence
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