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Virginia Woolf in the garden of forms


For Virginia Woolf writing was always the site of a cognitive agone, which often appeared either in the guise of a perceptual euphoria or of a prostration. The agone is most than evident in the short stories, where traditional modes of narration implode under the strong metanarrative flavour and the struggle with the structure. The case of “In the Orchard”, an experimental writing developed under the fascination of pictorial form, is exemplary in this perspective. In strong dialogue with the Impressionist and Post-impressionist avant-guard, a number of short stories make evidence of Woolf’s obsession with visuality and form, with specific reference to this short story where a ‘self-reflected’ subject, in the guise of a young woman, occupies the foreground. The Miranda of “In the Orchard” is in fact surprised in its groping between the sphere of the intelligible and that of the optical reflection, scrutinised by a narrator who ‘freezes’ the scene into a repetitive writing writing, so as to let the reader look at it from different perspectives, with fresh eyes or even ‘eyeless’, recording ‘crises’ and ‘progress’ that are eventually shared by all the textual actors- author, character, narrator and reader.


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