‘Nothing to be avoided, everything to be claimed.’

‘Virginia Woolf believed that the creative mind is androgynous. She was an expert in Elizabethan literature. She loved both the scope and the certainty of the Renaissance mind. Shakespeare, writing his sonnets to boys and women with equal passion, understanding the manliness of a soldier, the intensity of a nun, seemed to her to be a sign of what we all might be – bigger, wider, freed from convention and hypocrisy…

Orlando refuses all constraints: historical, fantastical, metaphysical, sociological. Ageing is irrelevant. Gender is irrelevant. Time is irrelevant. It is as though we could live as we always wanted to; disappointments, difficulties, sorrow, love, children, lovers, nothing to be avoided, everything to be claimed.’

More from the restless mind of Jeanette Winterson, this time discussing Orlando’s relationship with Woolf’s muse Vita Sackville-West and the book’s equally intense love affair with Elizabethan literature.

The event is free and will take place in the John Percival building tonight.

 

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