ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the roles of humour and promiscuity in the “illegitimate freedom” that Woolf evokes in “The Mark on the Wall.” Here, I employ two senses of the word “promiscuous” (the first, sexual; the second, compositional) to explore humour and other informal strategies as ethics in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse , and then to trace such an ethics in Woolf’s novel Orlando, examining often-distracted perception and wayward cosmopolitanism in the latter. This chapter will argue that Woolf’s novels exercise a liberatory profanation through promiscuity in both the abovementioned senses of the word.