Thursday, January 23, 2020

Comparing Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir N

Comparing Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov and Orlando by Sally Potter The novels, Orlando by Virginia Woolf and Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov, as well as the film, Orlando, written and directed by Sally Potter, are all self-reflexive, or metafictional, i.e., they draw our attention to the processes and techniques of writing and the production of cinema. All three share similarities and differences in setting, narrative technique, characterization and theme. The settings of the above three works all differ but are similar in their reflexivity. Laughter in the Dark occurs in Berlin, Germany at an unspecified time, as is characteristic of fairy tales. This announcement that the novel is a fairy tale identifies the attitude of the narrator, his intention, and cues the reader on what stance s/he should take in order to understand the tale; that is, the reader must not be a gullible and credulous child, but must view the novel as a work of fiction with a point to make, with a lesson to be taught and to be learned. The novel Orlando opens in an attic room in a "gigantic house" where "He  ­ for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it  ­ was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters." It is uncertain who had struck it from the shoulders of a "vast Pagan who had started up under the moon in the barbarian fields of Africa."(13) This setting for an English au dience is indeterminate, set in a world far away from the present. The reader cannot quite tell what century from the opening lines, except that the fashion would give us a clue as to the gender of the person whose biography this is about, a biography... ... Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, VHS VIDEO Orlando. Directed by Sally Potter, l994. WORKS CONSULTED Appel, Alfred Jr. & Charles Newman, editors. Nabokov : criticism, reminiscences, translations, and tributes. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, l970. Branden, Nathaniel. The Art of Living Consciously. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Clancy, Laurie. The Novels of Vladimir Nabokov. New York: St. Martin's Press, c1984. Hampton, David. Vladimir Nabokov: A Critical Study of the Novels. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, c1984. Ross, Charles Stanley. Vladimir Nabokov: Life, Work, and Criticism. Fredericton, N.B. Canada: York Press, cl985. Roth, Phyllis A. Critical Essays on Vladimir Nabokov. Boston: G. K. Hall, c1984. Tschofen, Monique. English 373: Film and Literature Study Guide. Athabasca University, 2000.

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