Lesbian Review of Books | Review #10
Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
Ahhh, Virginia Woolf. is there a bookish queermo alive whose personal journey has not been influenced by Virginia Woolf in one way or another? If you are such a person who managed to avoid Woolf during your formative years, come in, come in. Have a seat next to me. would you like a whiskey? Of course you would. Come in, we have hours upon hours of breathless Woolfian prose to deconstruct.
There is absolutely no question that Clarissa is a big ol’ lesbian. I shall hear no arguments. I shall allow my heartstrings to go untugged by any of Peter’s poetic manpain. Clarissa may have been a consummate socialite, a proper lady, and an impeccable hostess, but she was absolutely queer as all heck. Peter offered her a slightly different life with him, but Sally Seton showed her life itself, “the radiance burnt through, the revelation, the religious feeling!” Remember the first time you kissed a girl and everything felt more right? So does Clarissa.
As you may know, Michael Cunningham already wrote an Everything Is Lesbians version of Mrs. Dalloway called The Hours, which is lovely except that everything is not lesbians. Elizabeth, obviously a missed opportunity for a lesbian and a budding misandrist. Peter and Richard, also lesbians, because why have the triumph of Clarissa actually getting to marry a lady if she’s just going to agonize over men the whole book? The even gayer AU begs to be written. Septimus may remain Septimus, but I might have prescribed Lucrezia a nice lesbian affair if I were her doctor.
Verdict: I would say not enough lesbians, but I don’t think our dear Clarissa would have considered Active Lesbianism a viable life choice. Even if there were more lesbians it would only result in gay tears. Allow it to remain a formative queer experience and move on to greener (gayer) pastures.