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Woolf and the City$
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Elizabeth F. Evans and Sarah E. Cornish

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780984259830

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780984259830.001.0001

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date: 19 January 2019

Contrasting Urban and Rural Transgressive Sexualities in Jacob’s Room

Contrasting Urban and Rural Transgressive Sexualities in Jacob’s Room

(p.154) Contrasting Urban and Rural Transgressive Sexualities in Jacob’s Room
Woolf and the City

Vara Neverow

Liverpool University Press

Allusions to sexuality in general—and especially to sexual transgression—are recurrent elements in Virginia Woolf's work, though they are typically coded. This chapter examines several contrasting transgressive sexual situations that occur in Jacob's Room (1922). It shows that the manifestations of Jacob's transgressive sexuality depended on whether he was in a pastoral or urban setting. While the novel's depictions of sexuality set in the country were characterized as “innocent, idyllic, and blissful,” those in urban settings were often fraught with illicit behaviors (homosexual desire, prostitution, and ménage à trois, for example). Gradations of decency and the ramifications of socially coded sexual practices are explored.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, sexuality, sexual transgression, ménage à trois, homosexual desire, prostitution

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