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John Lammi
John Lammi
5 months ago

No one is trans, of course.

George Scipio
George Scipio
5 months ago

Orlando is a bisexual fantasy romp, nothing more. No one has or ever will literally change sex. Like all apologists for postmodern chaos, Winterson confuses the map with the territory. Destiny is of course a false concept, like the “authentic self” of the transgenderist game players. The self cannot be separate from the body, except in fantasy. This is conclusively demonstrated by death.

Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson
5 months ago

Let’s pretend! . More, let’s pretend is what makes life exciting. No boundaries! Nothing fixed -except mortality! Woolf in the end drowned herself. Alas, a serious end to all that pretence!.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Jackson

Mr Jackson wins the Internet.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Jackson

Anyone who thinks they’re not pretending is either not thinking hard enough or pretending.
What is Alan Jackson? He might be the summation of a set of life experiences (quite a few judging by the picture) but the man who Alan Jackson believes himself to be has influenced his own interpretation of those life experiences.
Alan Jackson is incapable of being an objective observer of his own existence. He might have been born in a particular space, amongst a particular community, he might consider that his home. But in forming that judgment Alan Jackson will have selected and weighted certain experiences and aspects which he then internalised whilst ignoring others.
Was Alan Jackson using objective criteria when selecting and ignoring these experiences and aspects? Is he viewing them objectively when remembering now? Has Alan Jackson allowed future experiences to influence his interpretation of his part experiences?
Alan Jackson, like all of us, is an abstraction. Alan Jackson is and only ever can be what Alan Jackson pretends to be.
As Freud might have predicted, the anti-trans lot grasp their genitals as the sole objective fact in their existence. The only element of their being that has been inextricably true since birth.
Alan Jackson is confused – maybe he has been pretending? Who is the authentic Alan Jackson? He can hardly remember old friends, parents are only memories, the place of his birth is changing but he can say one thing for certain. Alan Jackson has his genitals and all else flows from there. Alan Jackson is a p*n*s.

Last edited 5 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

All of that may be true, but at least he hasn’t drowned himself yet.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I don’t know anything about myself but I know that I am in the wrong body and must undergo genital mutilation otherwise I will kill myself, a victim of the cis white patriarchy.

starkbreath
starkbreath
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Good God, what a load of post-modern drivel. The article wasn’t any better. For too many ‘intellectuals’ no idea can be stupid as long as you dress it up in the requisite amount of solipsistic dross. For the rest of us, bullshit’s bullshit.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
5 months ago

Androgyny and trans are not the same. Trans women/men are women/men apparantly…

John Lammi
John Lammi
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Androgyny is not a mental disorder

carl taylor
carl taylor
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

And ‘non-binary’ doesn’t exist.

Ewen Mac
Ewen Mac
5 months ago

What do you mean by “trans?”
It currently means several entirely-different things including: Transexual, Transvestite, ‘Suffering from gender dysphoria,’ or ‘Trying to get a reduced sentence in a women’s prison.’

Last edited 5 months ago by Ewen Mac
J Bryant
J Bryant
5 months ago

I enjoyed this article at least for the quotes from Orlando. The term “genius” is bandied about too freely, but I believe Woolf was a genius. Her prose is all rhythm and cadence, breathlessly taking us from one time or place to another with no clear memory of how the transition was made. I would hate to “critique” a Woolf novel; I’d hate to rationalize the magic.
She wrote a very short story (what would now be called flash fiction) called “A Haunted House” which is one of the most original contributions to the horror genre I’ve read, and yet it is a century old and probably isn’t really a horror story. It’s easily googled if you’re interested.

Margaret Ford
Margaret Ford
5 months ago

please don’t call one of my favorite books a ‘trans-novel’. Why does this new ideology have to invade my imagination and history as well as everything else? Can’t we just accept that some sensitive writers women and men have always imagined life as the other without attaching ideological labels that impose imaginative limits?

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
5 months ago

Bla bla bla. Enough already. There is no such thing as ‘trans’. A genuine mental illness (dysphoria) and a much larger process of social contagion egged on by activist teachers. VW has nothing to offer our world. She never did. JW neither – part of the problem

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

I’d suggest they do have something to offer – an insight into a particular mindset – (of which i’m making no particular judgement with this comment) that is, however, something very human; and i’m very much interested in that, as we all should be. It needs to be more fully understood rather than dismissed.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago

Who gives a flying? This fad will fade away, like they all do. The huge and tragic difference is that it will have created countless permanently disfigured patients for the medical monsters to milk, and plenty if lucrative law suits for lawyers.

Theresa Guirato
Theresa Guirato
5 months ago

The brain is not androgenous… it is genderless.
So NO, Orlando was NOT the first trans novel.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
5 months ago

If gender is so mutable and challenging it so transgressive then why go to all the trouble of full body plastic surgery to achieve a supposedly literal and fixed sex identity?

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
5 months ago

Unherd has now reached peak Guardian. I’m off to Substack…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

You can’t be serious? It’s full of brain dead American poseurs.

starkbreath
starkbreath
4 months ago

Instead of throwing fellow anti woke writer/journalists such as Matt Taibii, Michael Schellenberger and Bari Weiss under the bus, why not accept them as allies? Those of us who despise the far left need to hang together, otherwise we shall hang separately.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago

The title of the article sounds like a question addressed in a woke PhD thesis. Jeanette Winterson lectures in the Oxford English department which produced Cathy Newman who exposed the progressive Oxford mentality in the Jordan Peterson interview. I really enjoyed both of Jeanette Winterson’s autobiographies, I thought they were brilliant, but not her other writing: I got the sense she was trying too hard to be a great writer. It put me in mind of an interview with Salman Rushdie I once read. He said when he first tried to write, his writing was not well received and he was advised to write what he knew. He sat down and wrote Midnight’s Children – pure brilliance.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Amazing. “don’t like title. saw something on youtube loosely related to writer which I didn’t like… must be bad”

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Are you projecting? I have read a great deal about the writer and many of her novels. I have never seen anything about her on YouTube. I was going to criticise the article in detail but I couldn’t be bothered repeating myself again.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Agreed.

Susan Scheid
Susan Scheid
5 months ago

Answer: no, she did not.

Mathilda Eklund
Mathilda Eklund
5 months ago

Remember being absolutely bewildered and so sad finding out Winterson had fallen for the gender propaganda. One of my favourite authors of all times. Gut Symmetries is a masterpiece.

Christina
Christina
4 months ago

My first thought upon seeing who the author of this article was, was “oh no not Jeanette Winterston too”
I don’t understand how intelligent people are rewriting every unconventional women in history as trans.
And this book which was obviously a feminist book and not a trans one.

Dulle Griet
Dulle Griet
3 months ago

I admire the beauty and originality of Jeanette Winterson’s prose, and the empathy and insight with which she writes about Virginia Woolf. But no, Orlando was not the first trans novel, because Orlando literally changes sex – which transgender people don’t do because it’s biologically impossible.