Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Daniel Westover

Committee Members

Katherine Weiss, Mark Baumgartner


This thesis examines the way in which the fictional biographies of Virginia Woolf, Orlando and Flush, prefigure central tenets of postmodern fiction. To demonstrate the postmodern elements present in Orlando and Flush, this thesis focuses on how the fictional biographies exhibit three postmodern characteristics: concern for historiography, extensive use of parody, and the denaturalization of cultural assumptions. Born from Woolf’s desire to revolutionize biography by incorporating elements of fiction alongside historical fact, these two novels parallel later works of historiographic metafiction in several key respects. Woolf’s extensive use of parody in Orlando and Flush prefigures how postmodern parody foregrounds the many ways in which all narratives are inherently constructions. Woolf also expresses a postmodern attitude by denaturalizing cultural assumptions about sexual difference and social class. When taken together, these three traits reveal how Orlando and Flush possess an ontological philosophy indicative of postmodern literature.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.