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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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Orlando and the Politics of (In)Conclusiveness

Orlando and the Politics of (In)Conclusiveness

(p.198) Chapter 16 Orlando and the Politics of (In)Conclusiveness
Sentencing Orlando

Judith Allen

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter, Judith Allen explores a politics of inconclusiveness that, she argues, pervades Orlando. Attending to the patterning and gender politics of her chosen sentence, with its evocative lists and rhetorical repetitions, Allen highlights Michel de Montaigne’s influence on Woolf, and ranges from Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory to Gertrude Stein’s lists to examine the effects of Woolf’s refusal to come to a conclusion. With Montaigne’s question ‘Que sais-je?’ in mind, Allen identifies an essayistic, dialogic mode in Orlando resonant with the ‘wildness’ Woolf infused into this book. Allen thereby reveals something about Woolf’s writing that emerges in all the chapters: how it requires keen and active reading practices, asking readers to participate in making meaning, to move nimbly between minute detail and wide horizons of thought and vision, and to read on at least two levels at once.

Keywords:   dialogism, essays, gender politics, Gertrude Stein, inconclusiveness, Michel de Montaigne, Mikhail Bakhtin, poetics, reading

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