“Sex was some forgotten atrophy”: Imagining intersex in Woolf’s Orlando and Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!
Dykstra Dykerman, Katelyn Jane
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This thesis considers the treatment of early twentieth-century intersex bodies in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!. It takes into special account the prevalence of eugenic discourse during the modernist period, noticing eugenicists’ interest in categorical imperatives for the purposes of statistical analysis and surgical alteration. Their aims were human perfectibility. This thesis argues Orlando and Absalom, Absalom! imagine bodies existing, loving, and dreaming in between male and female, and outside of the violence of surgical “correction.”