Gypsies and lesbian desire: Vita Sackville-West, Violet Trefusis and Virginia Woolf

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The writer investigates the tantalizing presence of the gypsy as the antithesis of the “familiar and entrapping” in queer writing by women at the beginning of the 20th century. She focuses on the significance of this theme in the work of Vita Sackville-West, Violet Trefusis, and Virginia Woolf. A tentative identification with gypsies is an undercurrent in the correspondence and texts of all three writers, she argues, and this pull toward “gypsiness” functions as an indicator of same-sex desire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalTwentieth Century Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • modernism
  • Woolf
  • queer studies
  • Sackville-West

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