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Sentencing OrlandoVirginia Woolf and the Morphology of the Modernist Sentence$
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Elsa Högberg and Amy Bromley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474414609

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474414609.001.0001

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‘The Queen had come’: Orgasm and Arrival

‘The Queen had come’: Orgasm and Arrival

(p.15) Chapter 1 ‘The Queen had come’: Orgasm and Arrival
Sentencing Orlando

Jane Goldman

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter, Jane Goldman focuses on one of the novel’s most direct sentences: ‘The Queen had come’. While this sentence reports the arrival of a Queen, presumably Elizabeth I, it is also an equally direct report of a woman’s orgasm as a fait accompli: ‘vulgar, bawdy, openly celebrating female autoeroticism’, yet ‘coded, cryptic, somehow hidden in plain sight’. Taking the multiple queen figures evoked in this ‘orgasmic feminist Sapphic coup’ as her starting point, Goldman pursues Orlando’s queer and queenly genealogy from Mary, Queen of Scots, via Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein to Woolf’s and Vita Sackville-West’s erotic intimacy.

Keywords:   ancestry, gender, Gertrude Stein, Mary, Queen of Scots, Oscar Wilde, Queen Elizabeth I, Queer, sexuality, textual variants, Vita Sackville-West

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