The Other side of the looking glass : women’s fantasy writing and Woolf’s OrlandoPart of : Γράμμα : περιοδικό θεωρίας και κριτικής ; Vol.1, No.1, 1993, pages 137-153
In “The Looking Glass, from the Other Side” (This Sex Which is Not One, Luce Irigaray’s Alice inhabits a psychic space beyond the screen of patriarchal representations. Where Lewis Carroll’s Alice finds things precisely inverted in her specular kingdom, Irigaray’s Alice finds them in a perpetual process of displacement. Women’s fantasy fictions of this century can be read as paradigmatic of the experience of otherness, of writing from within structures of representation in which, as Irigaray’s Alice puts it, women are “more than half absent ... on the other side". Virginia Woolf’s Orlando exploits fantasy elements for this very purpose, to disrupt androcentric narratives, particularly those of history and biography. It demonstrates the strategy of masquerade or mimicry and the way in which this can, as Irigaray suggests, both expose and explode the reality of women’s subordination within patriarchal discourse.
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