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Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Isabel B. Stanley

Committee Members

Judith B. Slagle, William Styron Harris Jr.


This thesis explores Woolf's concept of androgyny through a comparison of her nonfiction essay A Room of One's Own and her fiction-fantasy novel Orlando. Recent and past critical writings on Woolf and androgyny have been consulted, as well as primary sources including her works, private letters, and diaries. Woolf's concept of androgyny embodies a fundamental dilemma. In A Room of One's Own, Woolf calls for spiritual and mental androgyny while avidly supporting physical, social, and cultural differences between men and women. In Orlando, Woolf creates a character who is unable to reach mental androgyny because of social conditioning of gender and sex roles. The dilemma lies in Woolf's embrace of stereotypical ideas that distinguish men and women, while in the end, such differences inhibit the mental and spiritual androgyny she exalts. The findings shed new light on Woolf and the controversy of her "androgynous vision" by exposing the fundamental dilemma.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.