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!Download Book ♵ Orlando: A Biography ⚖ Virginia Woolf described Orlando as an escapade, half laughing, half serious with great splashes of exaggeration, but many think Woolf s escapade is one of the most wickedly imaginative and sharply observed considerations of androgyny that this century will see Orlando is, in fact, a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, he is a young male aristocrat at the beginning of the story and a modern woman four centuries later The hero heroine sees monarchs come and go, hobnobs with great literary figures, and slips in and out of each new fashion Woolf presents a brilliant pageant of history, society, and literature as well as subtle appreciation of the interplay between endings and beginnings, past and present, male and female Friendly Fire (Jonathan Grave half laughing A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham half serious with great splashes of exaggeration To Hold (The Dumont Diaries, but many think Woolf s escapade is one of the most wickedly imaginative and sharply observed considerations of androgyny that this century will see Orlando is The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe in fact Murphys Ambush a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position Ecotarian Diet he is a young male aristocrat at the beginning of the story and a modern woman four centuries later The hero heroine sees monarchs come and go Dust Devil hobnobs with great literary figures Synowie Kaina, córy Lilith... Rzecz o wampirach w fantasy and slips in and out of each new fashion Woolf presents a brilliant pageant of history Follow Me to Zion society Melancholia and literature as well as subtle appreciation of the interplay between endings and beginnings Rozbieranie do snu past and present Yul male and female My second reading of Orlando bore out my overriding impression the first time I read it that this is a brilliant comic performance until Woolf, before finishing, runs out of steam Towards the end it becomes apparent she s no longer in the same spirit with which she began the book What begins as pure parody ends up a serious attempt to understand her subject The delicious light skip of her lyrical irony no longer seems at the beck and call of her wit towards the end You can sense, even see My second reading of Orlando bore out my overriding impression the first time I read it that this is a brilliant comic performance until Woolf, before finishing, runs out of steam Towards the end it becomes apparent she s no longer in the same spirit with which she began the book What begins as pure parody ends up a serious attempt to understand her subject The delicious light skip of her lyrical irony no longer seems at the beck and call of her wit towards the end You can sense, even see that she s already beginning to formulate both A Room of one s Own and The Waves Her lightly handled mischievous mockery of the conventional historian and biographer is replaced by aheavy handed feminist polemic and awkward, overly lyrical philosophical musings on the nature of fame and multiple incarnations of self She s lost the original spirit It s as if a children s play about pirates and mermaids ends with a religious sermon As Shakespeare demonstrated, if you start off silly, you should probably end silly Imagine if at the end of As You Like It all the characters held forth on the psychological and philosophical connotations of why they changed sex during the play Basically, Virginia tries to force a resolution on this novel that is completely at odds with its spirit And for that reason all the tension goes out of it in the last fifty pages The first half of Orlando pastiches the traditional historian biographer as mischievously and hilariously as Nabokov s brilliant Pale Fire pastiches establishment s literary critic It s the work of a writer inspired, on a roll and thank heavens we have this evidence of Woolf s comic genius Anyone who thinks of Woolf as a rather pretentious humourless prig clearly hasn t read Orlando Of all her books it s the one which most gives you an idea of what she was like at a dinner table Thus, ironically, the most biographical in terms of giving us some essence of the social Virginia offhand, witty, versatile, self deprecating, a show off, intellectual, silly, indignant, giggling Orlando is like a guided tour through VW s likes and dislikes We learn what pleases her and what angers her and of course she writes beautifully of her love of England, its countryside, its history and its capital There s also a sense that she s sometimes showing off with certain friends in mind you realise while reading this book that there s a subtle but hugely significant difference between genius in full stride and showing off even though genius in full stride can seem like showing off it never quite does You don t see the performance Here you sometimes can see the performance You can see the anatomy of the dance steps rather than one continuous fluid motion So who was she showing off to I don t think it was Vita at all It might have started as a bit of fun with Vita in mind but to my mind it s Lytton Strachey she s often thinking about while writing this He was the writer who sought to revolutionise biography as a form and probably the male intellect among her brother s formally educated friends she was most intimidated by It s like she s now found the confidence to feel herself his equal, which she didn t feel as a young woman While he was receiving his Cambridge education she was compelled to read many of the countless biographies in her father s library No wonder she hates conventional biography so much Orlando was her revenge on all those dull male minds who believed identity was constructed from dates, battles, rank and official documents The same kind of men who believed women were better seen and not heard What does all this have to do with Vita For me far too much has been made of her relationship with Vita Nearly all my female friends have had lesbian crushes at some point in their lives It s something we laugh about not something that history should use to define who we are The idea that had Woolf lived intolerant times she would have lived happily in a lesbian relationship to my mind is just daft, as daft in its way as the convictions held by the historians and biographers she mocks in this book.In relation to VW s other books I d give this four stars but because it s clearly better than 99% of the books on Goodreads it has to get five Woolf did not write this book for her readers she specifically wrote it for her close friend and fellow writer Vita Sackville West As such Woolf does things she would not normally do in her writing it is not at all serious but instead takes on the form of a literary homage, homage to reading and writing My case in pointFor it would seem her case proved it that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre o Woolf did not write this book for her readers she specifically wrote it for her close friend and fellow writer Vita Sackville West As such Woolf does things she would not normally do in her writing it is not at all serious but instead takes on the form of a literary homage, homage to reading and writing My case in pointFor it would seem her case proved it that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver The taste for books was an early one As a child he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading They took his taper away, and he bred glow worms to serve his purpose They took the glow worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinderTilda Swinton as Orlando in the 1992 film adaptationMore significantly, it was also homage to someone she loved quite dearly I do wonder if originally she intended for this to be published it is clearly a piece of writing that is very personal and addressed to one person There are just so many emotions in this novel The story begins with Orlando, a young man living in the Elizabethan age who is about to be transformed The story also ends with Orlando, a woman writer living in the 20th century The entire novel is a fictionalised history of Vita Sackville West, of an imagined past life she lived under the guise of Orlando several centuries before she met Woolf Orlando had his heart broken at a very young age it is shattered beyond repair as he is abandoned and left in ruins Life must go on He finds solace in reading and writing, tools he uses to escape from the horrors of reality He begins with poetry thus, finding an appropriate channel for his self pity and woe begotten thoughts He strives for fame, for literary acknowledgment, by perfecting his craft If he fails, if the idealised writer fails, the thoughts of suicide and inferiority begin to dog his steps I need not mention how Woolf met her own end, but this read like an early foreshadowing It was hauntingBy the truth we are undone Life is a dream Tis the waking that kills us He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life And as such he attempts to push forward Indeed, that much so he goes into womanhood On a plot level it didn t really make sense it just kind of happened, though it did give Woolf a perfect opportunity to critique the nuances of gender roles within society And it was described so beautifully I can t fault her for it I can t really fault the novel, only to say it lost a considerable amount of passion, energy and momentum once Orlando had changed his sex This is the weirdest, most imaginative, novel I ve read in months Despite the bizarreness of the plot, the wackiest thing about it is the fact that Virginia Woolf wrote it I hated Mrs Dalloway I count it among my least favourite novels in existence I hate the way Woolf wrote it, why she wrote it and the literary style she tried to produce Orlando made me rethink my opinion of Woolf entirely I ve read a lot of her non fictional essays along with her literary criticisms of other 20th century writers This, oddly, goes against much of what she advocated She was a staunch supporter of realism within her writing, that much so she took efforts to make her plots less constructed so they mirrored real life this is something else entirely So I ve come to the conclusion that I didn t really understand Woolf perhaps I still don t The pathway forward remains an obvious one I simply must read everything she ever wrote in order to understand her better Time to get busy This was my first time reading Orlando It was also my second time.I like to think that everything happens for a reason not that I believe it was planned or decided by a powerful creature for me but because the idea that everything effects what surrounds it sounds about right to me So I see a purpose in this reading experience that Virginia Woolf provided me and take it as an important lesson to carry with me from now on and how appropriate that it came just at the beginning of a new and This was my first time reading Orlando It was also my second time.I like to think that everything happens for a reason not that I believe it was planned or decided by a powerful creature for me but because the idea that everything effects what surrounds it sounds about right to me So I see a purpose in this reading experience that Virginia Woolf provided me and take it as an important lesson to carry with me from now on and how appropriate that it came just at the beginning of a new and exciting year.I ve always liked to plan things to the last detail in my life With reading, unfortunately and I say that because sometimes it becomes too much to follow up on it is the same I had a strict schedule to read Orlando and I wanted to finish it by January 9th The day arrived and I only had twenty pages or so left to finish the book, so great, another thing was on the right track And then I realized nothing was on the right track I had been racing through the book to comply with a deadline that I stipulated for no authentic reason, really in my head and I wasn t enjoying it at all Yes, I saw glimpses of brilliance here and there, and I loved the idea of the book since the beginning, plus the fact that I ve always admired both Woolf and her writing style, so it surprised and bothered me that I wasn t actually having a great time with it I put it down and analyzed the situation for two minutes it was a no brainer, I know, but when you re caught up in it, it may take a while to realize things and then decided to start over To read everything once again, including the Introduction that I skipped the first time Oh my What about my schedule It would have to give in So I went back to the beginning, with hopes of a better read this time and without a deadline After thirty pages or so, I realized the blur I had read for racing through the words felt really different and so much better now, as if I had just put on my reading glasses.Forget mostly everything you know from Woolf and expect to find here based on previous works it s a departure from them, almost completely Mrs Dalloway became famous for being an account of a single day of a person s life to counter that, we read in this bookthan three hundred years of Orlando s life To the Lighthouse is known for its stream of consciousness style that is intertwined with the plot and characters lines and actions, making it a complex read this novel is straightforward and presented in the format of a biography of the character Orlando one would say the novel is actually semi biographical as it s been widely known that the protagonist is based on Vita Sackville West, an English writer who s been romantically involved with Woolf because of that, the novel is seen as a love letter to Vita More than that, it is a love letter to literature, to the exercise of writing and to writers It takes us on a grand literary journey throughout the centuries kind of an expanded Oxen of the Sun from Ulysses where Virginia emulates some styles and eras in her writing although still making her book easily accessible as opposed to what Joyce did in the specified episode.This biography tells us the story of Orlando, an individual born as a biological male who lives forthan three hundred years Seems interesting enough, right There sat around thirty years of age, he wakes up to find out a change has occurred he s mysteriously been transformed into a woman he she is now biologically female This is the basic frame of the novel.But truly, what I most admired and enjoyed in this work was Woolf I love how she comprehended and created her protagonist as someone constituted of dissimilarities and paradoxes all throughout the times If we, inside of one year, change our minds so often, imagine someone living for three centuries Not only did this gave a touch of realism to this distinct story, but it also kept Orlando s character as being fresh, not determined from beginning to end and, above all, unpredictable.What I mostly got from Orlando s character was the sense of solitude and constant search Despite being surrounded by people throughout centuries, Orlando was really in search of herself, of who he was, of what she was really, in search of a meaning, of a purpose, of her individuality It didn t help, of course, that on the times he opened up and trusted people, she ended up being betrayed by them, only renewing his sense of loneliness Notwithstanding, she still seemed to worry so much about people s opinions and conceptions about him, for she was longing to fit somewhere.Orlando s freedom for so to speak came from an epiphany he had while struggling about his writings, when she realized that in need to be true to himself, she needed to write first and foremost for herself, leaving all glory aside that for a moment she considered seeking for herself again proving his need to fit, to be accepted Following this moment, Orlando found the necessity of taking care of his house, which I interpreted as a clear metaphor that she, from that moment on, wanted to value himself, his story, her lineage, the foundation he was, for once, proud of being who she wasHe stretched himself He rose He stood upright in complete nakedness before us, and while the trumpets pealed Truth Truth Truth we have no choice left but confess he was a womanAlthough Virginia made a decision to not explain or address too much the sex change and I applaud her for that, for it was treated naturally despite the amazing scene, one of the best in the novel, where the three sisters Chastity, Purity and Modesty tried to cover the beautiful transformation as all gender issues should be, for they re not, in my opinion, muchthan a simple detail that constitutes us such as our height and weight , I wanted to at least acknowledge here on my humble review how brilliant she was for writing so bravely and yet with a much admirable lightness on a subject that still, in 2015, is such a taboo to our society Virginia wrote as if the sexually defined roles were nothan fantasies that could easily be stripped off for the benefit of another that better suited the individual.Still on Woolf s levity in addressing the change, the reflections made by Orlando right after becoming a woman were really fun and interesting to read His comparisons between the genders and her efforts in learning how to act, be and think had a subtle but undeniable touch of sarcasm Orlando trying to readjust her behavior after becoming a woman, to comply to what was expected of her and this was a constant for him because, outside the gender issue, the character goes through a lot of different eras and times, each one with silly defined roles by society , felt like someone who needed to learn to walk again, or rather someone who s been through a short period of blindness and regains sight, only to find out, this time, that the world is under different lights and colors, as if the sun had been changed to blue, or pinkMemory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither We know not what comes next, or what follows after Thus, the most ordinary movement in the world, such as sitting down at a table and pulling the inkstand towards one, may agitate a thousand odd, disconnected fragments, now bright, now dim, hanging and bobbing and dipping and flaunting, like the underlinen of a family of fourteen on a line in a gale of windOther aspect that was surely to please me was Woolf s addressing to memory, time and consciousness topics I ve been reading about for quite some time Still, she was able to add her own twist to those and seemingly inverted Proust s approach instead of showing the moment that the past resurfaces through an involuntary memory, she shows us the present fighting back to regain the mind s control, mostly through sounds that awake Orlando again, as if the present was actually screaming for attention.Back to the first time I attempted to read this book, and also one of the changes I made that contributed to my new found enjoyment of it was about reading the notes included in my edition I seem to have a love hate relationship with notes while they re completely essential in some books, practically part of the narrative and elucidative to the comprehension of the work, in others they are simply too distracting without adding much to the experience My edition has 262 notes for a book that has about 240 pages Most were about the parallels between Vita s life and Orlando s, and those I found to be unnecessary After I stopped reading all of them and only payed attention to the ones that promised to add to my understanding, my reading flow also improved.Film adaptation although it hasn t been acclaimed either by critics nor the public, I was very much curious to watch the film from 1992, directed by Sally Potter, to see how Woolf s narrative would de adapted into the screen While it had some nice moments, and most of them provided by Tilda Swinton s talents who plays Orlando greatly, others were a great disappointment to justify Orlando s longer than usual life by making it a gift from the Queen is completely unnecessary after that, I was scared they would also try to justify the sex change gladly, that wasn t the case Having Orlando constantly looking at the camera in attempts to connect to the viewer felt forced and became very predictable and what I think must have been the sole reason the director decided on using those also didn t match the wit that Woolf achieved by having the biographer addressing the reader in several occasions It was a fun time watching the film, but it doesn t stand on its own like the novel gracefully does.Rating for a book that, under 300 pages, packed not only a great story, with wonderful wit and humor, written brilliantly, but also taught me an important lesson 5 stars I knew for sure I wasn t expecting anything like To the Lighthouse with Orlando, but what I didn t know is just how much sheer pleasure Orlando would end up giving me, as this went right beyond my expectations, the days reading it seemed invigorated somehow Woolf has broken with tradition and convention and has set out to explore a kind of fourth dimensional approach to writing Not that she has abandoned the stream of consciousness method which she used with such conspicuous success in her p I knew for sure I wasn t expecting anything like To the Lighthouse with Orlando, but what I didn t know is just how much sheer pleasure Orlando would end up giving me, as this went right beyond my expectations, the days reading it seemed invigorated somehow Woolf has broken with tradition and convention and has set out to explore a kind of fourth dimensional approach to writing Not that she has abandoned the stream of consciousness method which she used with such conspicuous success in her previous novels, but with it she has combined what, for lack of a better term, we might describe as an application to writing of the theory of relativity In this novel, or biography, however one chooses to see it, she is largely preoccupied with the time element in character and human relationships, and with a statement of the exact complexion of that intangible moment, a combination of past and future, of objective reality and subjective awareness, which we refer to as the present.Woolf s hero heroine, man woman, he she, is hundreds of years old, lucky him her At the beginning of the book Orlando is an adolescent male, melancholic, indolent, loving solitude and given to writing poetry the age is the Elizabethan the book ends on the 11th of October, 1928, and Orlando is a thoroughly modern matron of 36, who has published a successful book of poems and has evolved a hard earned philosophy of life Thus, to express her very modern fourth dimensional concepts, Woolf has fallen back upon one of the most ancient of literary forms, the allegory In doing so she has left the novel perhapsconfusing than was strictly necessary However, I personally think nothing should have been any different Woolf knocked me for six, here, there, and everywhere Ultimately she written a book of genius Starting around the time of The Great Frost of 1608 09 where birds froze whilst flying and hurtled to the ground, Orlando moves on to languorous sunny afternoons spent in the shade of oak trees and the hot sun of Turkey Even so, this could be classed as a winter read As Orlando never leaves the ice entirely, since he, and then she, is simply frozen in time Even hundreds of years later there remains the same person who fell in love on those winter days in the 17th century, and those heady days breathe their cold magic throughout this strange, sometimes bewildering but generally wonderful novel Plus, Woolf can t resist returning to the cold now and again, most notably in her description of the permanent winter damp and black cloud that hung over the 19th century.After Orlando s attempts to adjust herself to the conventions of nineteenth century England Woolf excels with by far the most stimulating section of the book, describing Orlando at the present moment, and traces with breath taking delicacy the influence of her past upon her present It is deep in the book when suddenly Orlando springs startlingly to life, not that there was anything wrong previously, but up to a point it had seemed a pleasant narrative made notable by a number of passages of great beauty, love and attention, and by occasional bits of vivid description, but marred slightly by a rather self conscious mischievousness on the part of the author Having said that, even it s worst bits were still seriously good.In the closing pages she welds compactly what had seemed to be a series of loosely connected episodes In them she seems to reach down into the rabbit hole for the whole superstructure of life and to lay bare a new, or at least a hitherto unperceived, arrangement of those ephemeral flashes of memory of perception that makes up consciousness But she has carried the stream of consciousness technique a step further Not being satisfied to present a succession of thoughts and sensations passing through the mind, she shows what is behind those thoughts and sensations, whence they spring, and how great their relative value In attempting to describe such subtle and elusive qualities, Woolf has faced squarely one of the most puzzling technical and esthetic problems that plague contemporary novelists The mere fact that she has stated the problem as succinctly as she does in the course of this book is immensely stimulating, whether or not one feels that she has achieved the final solution to it I have to say, I could read all the writings of Virginia Woolf under the sun which is unlikely, but you never know and nothing else would be as rousing as this She clearly put a lot of passion into writing this book, and in the case of the reader, me, I was completely won over A dizzy and captivating reading experience Just hope I don t wake up in the morning and find I am now Stephanie 675 Orlando Orlando A Biography, Virginia WoolfOrlando A Biography is a novel by Virginia Woolf, first published on 11 October 1928 A high spirited romp inspired by the tumultuous family history of Woolf s lover and close friend, the aristocratic poet and novelist Vita Sackville West, it is arguably one of Woolf s most popular novels a history of English literature in satiric form The book describes the adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries, meeti 675 Orlando Orlando A Biography, Virginia WoolfOrlando A Biography is a novel by Virginia Woolf, first published on 11 October 1928 A high spirited romp inspired by the tumultuous family history of Woolf s lover and close friend, the aristocratic poet and novelist Vita Sackville West, it is arguably one of Woolf s most popular novels a history of English literature in satiric form The book describes the adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries, meeting the key figures of English literary history Considered a feminist classic, the book has been written about extensively by scholars of women s writing and gender and transgender studies 2009 1370 279 1381 1388 9789640007709 1395 343 9789640018897 20 1379 250 9646581382 1386 310 1388 1395 9789643416782 Orlando might have been devised as a mere divertimento, as a playful attempt to challenge the established views on sexuality or as a fantastical tale to confront the history of East and West by questioning the boundaries of space and time, but to this reader this novella meant muchIt meant a universe of fluctuating moods, characters and sweeping poetry that gives reason to be through the act of reading.How to describe the nuanced melody of finely threaded irony prodigiously in tune with t Orlando might have been devised as a mere divertimento, as a playful attempt to challenge the established views on sexuality or as a fantastical tale to confront the history of East and West by questioning the boundaries of space and time, but to this reader this novella meant muchIt meant a universe of fluctuating moods, characters and sweeping poetry that gives reason to be through the act of reading.How to describe the nuanced melody of finely threaded irony prodigiously in tune with the most sophisticated sense of humor that entertains and prickles and urges to see the world without the limiting lenses of gender, class or social convention One can evolve unhindered when he suspends judgement and allows the flow of writing to give way to a solid account that sparkles because undeniable reality is better understood through the theatrical fiction of its form.How to account for centuries expanding and contracting beyond human comprehension, decades that amount to the fall of a rose leaf on the ground, years that disappear in a flash The passage of time is of no consequence when love for the written word equals the all consuming passion for the person who knows us best regardless of clothing or hair style, manners or social rituals that distract us from the true essence of our beings How to explain the ache spanning countless generations, eras and customs that is nestled in the heart of the artist who relishes the young, supple body, pure as driven snow the fleeting grass under a blanket of blue or the stars reflected in pools of stagnant water both in London and Turkey Emily Dickinson says in her poem 466 For Occupation This The spreading wide my narrow HandsTo gather Paradise For Occupation Writing Orlando claims a room of her own to write her life, a task that will also define her love, and infuse wholeness into the swelling tides that toss her multiple beings, her male and female groundings.The result, be it an experimental biography, an unorthodox love declaration or a thought provoking roman clef to defy categorization at all levels, goes beyond its original purpose and becomes a fluid, ever changing tapestry of voices answering other voices, speaking the universal language of poetry Totally new review replacing ancient, short, less favourable one.Orlando or LAN do Wrap your tongue around it, and whisper it There s a luscious, syrupy, sensual, mysterious feel Much like the eponymous hero ine , and the sumptuously described natural and man made world Orlando inhabits.The name conjures cross dressing disguises in Shakespeare s As You Like It, a Marmalade Cat, maybe Tilda Swinton or Legolas, and, for Google, theme parks in Florida If you know the novel s USP and Greek my Totally new review replacing ancient, short, less favourable one.Orlando or LAN do Wrap your tongue around it, and whisper it There s a luscious, syrupy, sensual, mysterious feel Much like the eponymous hero ine , and the sumptuously described natural and man made world Orlando inhabits.The name conjures cross dressing disguises in Shakespeare s As You Like It, a Marmalade Cat, maybe Tilda Swinton or Legolas, and, for Google, theme parks in Florida If you know the novel s USP and Greek mythology, you may also think of Tiresias and Ovid s Metamorphoses.Image Tilda Swinton as Orlando, leaning against an oak tree, the title of Orlando s lifelong poem Source My first encounters with Woolf were not positive I didn t get To the Lighthouse in 2008 Orlando fared a little better shortly after Last year, I read Night and Day see my review HERE and gained confidence to readWoolf.The Sex Thing is not the only thingI reread Orlando because in recent years, I ve been dabbling in books that explore gender see my shelf HERE That reflects shifts in society as well as my own family.But despite the famous and definite opening line,He for there could be no doubt about his sex , readers shouldn t obsess about it One aspect I love about Orlando, and also Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex, is that the switch of sex, though vital, is just one of many facets In Middlesex, there are a dozen other types of transition listed in my review HERE.Orlando s diversity comes from genre and content It is a pre postmodern magical realist mashup that slips effortlessly between fictionalised biography with the biographer reporting their frustrations to the reader pontifciations on high society homage to, quotes from, and satire of famous writers and critics queer feminist tract numerous parallels with the detailed history of Vita Sackville West s family and home Knole the pains of love sought and lost streams of consciousness comical wooing the inspiration, methods, and frustrations of writing, especially for women the emptiness of wealth shades of Gatsby, which I reviewed HERE sensuous descriptions of nature, clothes, and furnishings and it s all wrapped up with an almost trippy ending.The Plot Time passed and nothing whatever happened This is not primarily a plot driven novel, and for Orlando, time is as flexible as sex gender He would go out after breakfast a man of thirty and come home to dinner a man of fifty five at least Some weeks added a century to his age, others nothan three seconds Orlando is a teenage nobleman in the court of Elizabeth I He communes with nature and writes prolifically He has lovers of both ambiguous sexes, and adventures with Russians, Turks, and gypsies Decades later, but only around 30 years old, Orlando awakes as a woman This is barely mentioend by her or others, nor the fact she lives for another 300 years without aging noticeably No explanation is sought or suggested Its relevance is limited to observing the differing constraints on women through the ages, and offstage legal battles to inherit what only a man can inherit She need neither fight her age, nor submit to it She was of it, yet remained herself Here, age refers to historical period, rather than number of birthdays If it s not about Orlando s sex or the plot, what IS it about Orlando s core character and interests are consistent nature, literature, and later, a quest for life and a lover In terms of sex, Orlando is the essence of fluidity, embracing all aspects of both Woolf takes a binary view in herself and her lovers the differences are simultaneously profound and unremarked When Orlando first realises he is now she, she showed no surprise His form combined in one the strength of a man and a woman s grace Orlando had become a woman But in every other respect, Orlando remained precisely as he had been The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity Image One from the series Human Metamorphosis by Taylor James Source For me, that s the essential message of Orlando be true to yourself, regardless of externally defined labels That applies as much to the genre defying book, as to Orlando the person Labels can be useful, but they should only ever be descriptive, not prescriptive Different though the sexes are, they intermix In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness Orlando changes outwardly, but before and after, over the centuries, Orlando is always a colourful, fluid mix Image A violet marbled end paper from a Folio Society book Short video of it being made here He had eyes like drenched violets This book is famously a love letter to Vita, but it s suffused with violets Orlando s eyes flowers, obviously but also clouds of autumn shades shadows, and unstated Trefusis Vita s previous lover.Quotes Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth Russia where the sunsets are longer, the dawns less sudden, and sentences often left unfinished Memory is a seamstress, and a capricious one at that Society is everything and society is nothing Sounds like Wilde Quotes about Literature Now all young writers were in the pay of the booksellers and poured out any trash that would sell In the 16th 17th century While fame impedes and constricts, obscurity wraps about a man like a mist Material luxury evaporated like so much sea mist under the miasma So it was, and Orlando would sit by himself, reading, a naked man Surely, since she is a woman, and a beautiful woman, and a woman in the prime of life, she will soon give over this pretence of writing and thinking and begin at least to think of a gamekeeper Quotes about Love As he looked the thickness in his blood melted the ice turned to wine in his veins he heard the waters flowing and birds singing Suddenly lovestruck Then bathos he merely asks her to pass the salt Orlando heard far off the beating of Love s wings The distant stir of that soft plumage roused in him a thousand memories of rushing waters, of loveliness in the snow and faithlessness in the flood Love has two faces one white, the other black two bodies one smooth, the other hairy each one is the exact opposite of the other Yet, so strictly are they joined together that you cannot separate them Nothing isheavenly than to resist and to yield to yield and to resist She was married, true but if one s husband was always sailing round Cape Horn, was it marriage If one liked him, was it marriage If one liked other people, was it marriage And finally, if one still wished,than anything in the whole world, to write poetry, was it marriage But love as the male novelists define it and who, after all, speak with greater authority has nothing whatever to do with kindness, fidelity, generosity, or poetry Love is slipping off one s petticoat and But we all know what love is Quotes about Weather SeasonsSignificant changes are marked by dramatic weather Everything was different The weather itself of another temper altogether The brilliant amorous day was divided as sheerly from the night as land from water Sunsets were redder andintense dawns were whiter andauroral Of our crepuscular half lights lingering twilights they knew nothing The rain fell vehemently, or not at all The equable but confused light of a summer s morning in which everything is seen but nothing is seen distinctly The sun was so girt about with clouds and the air was so saturated with water, that its beams were discolored and purples, oranges, and reds of a dull sort took the place of thepositive landscapes Under this bruised and sullen canopy the green of the cabbages was less intense, and the white of the snow was muddied Quotes about Clothes She fell to thinking what an odd pass we have come to when all a woman s beauty has to be kept covered lest a sailor may fall from a mast head Relevant today for debates about burqas, victim blaming, and rape culture Clothes change our view of the world and the world s view of us It is clothes that wear us and not we them Clothes are but a symbol of something hid deep beneath The very definition of a sacrament I m sick to death of this particular self I want another Orlando to me is a dream come true in literature Being able to move in time and space and to change my gender with my moods is a deeply satisfying idea It is the quintessence of what reading means in my life the opportunity to leave my own life behind and step into the body and soul of other people, only to move on again when I feel like it I can be intensely engaged for a week, and then put the adventure safely into my memory an I m sick to death of this particular self I want another Orlando to me is a dream come true in literature Being able to move in time and space and to change my gender with my moods is a deeply satisfying idea It is the quintessence of what reading means in my life the opportunity to leave my own life behind and step into the body and soul of other people, only to move on again when I feel like it I can be intensely engaged for a week, and then put the adventure safely into my memory and try something different Orlando is a hymn to reading and imagination and love It is a break from conventions, and a story heavy as a heart and light as a feather.Love it The most prudent way to review a Virginia Woolf book, perhaps, would be to write THIS IS STUPENDOUS GENIUS AMAZING WHY HAVEN T YOU READ THIS YET and leave it at that Because not only does this relieve you of the responsibility of casting about for appropriate words to serenade Woolf but also because you know no review in the world does justice to the sheer magic that she is capable of creating with words.But since I have a thing for self flagellation not really , I wish to undertake preci The most prudent way to review a Virginia Woolf book, perhaps, would be to write THIS IS STUPENDOUS GENIUS AMAZING WHY HAVEN T YOU READ THIS YET and leave it at that Because not only does this relieve you of the responsibility of casting about for appropriate words to serenade Woolf but also because you know no review in the world does justice to the sheer magic that she is capable of creating with words.But since I have a thing for self flagellation not really , I wish to undertake precisely this mammoth task of writing about Orlando After having closed the book and put it aside, the first predominant emotions are that of being overwhelmed by the all encompassing nature of its inherent themes, then awestruck, then of being very close to tears One is compelled to sit quietly in a corner, still under the heady influence of Orlando s poetic prose, and brood over all the discrete human sentiments, actions and events that make up life as we know it, letting precious minutes trickle by.Our hero heroine, Orlando, seems not only to be a representation of the human spirit, a union of yin and yang in all its imperfect glory, but also a lasting testament to the perpetual flow of time His her pronouncements sound almost like a chorus of voices, echoing all the dichotomies that characterize our existence and the transience of our emotions.Orlando begins the journey of life as a man of wealth and social standing in Elizabethan era England, comfortable in the skin of his vanity, amorous in his dalliances with women And the book ends on 11th of October, 1928, in modern England where Orlando is a married woman, a mother, an accomplished writer and finally at peace with life s many ironies and caprices I will refrain from going into all that takes place between these two distant points in time because for that one can always read the book It will suffice to say that Orlando swings back and forth between craving and shunning love, between pursuing his her literary interests and trivializing the urge to write, between seeking the august company of men of letters like Pope, Addison and Swift and then belittling them And even though hundreds of years pass by as Orlando goes through the many myriad experiences that life had in store for him her, it seems like everything has remained essentially the same The reader is struck by a sense of passivity in motion, of an enduring constancy even though the sights and sounds and scenarios, that Orlando flits through, keep varying Thus in a way Orlando is not different from Woolf s other works just because of the noticeable absence of a stream of consciousness which, again, is not totally absent here but because here, she attempts to grasp at an amorphous entity like time and enclose it within a few pages And I am mightily pleased to say that she pulls off this feat with an elan, one associates only with her What makes Orlando really stand out among other VW works is the dual gender of its protagonist Orlando keeps oscillating between his her manly and womanly bearings and towards the very end, what nullifies the differences between the sexes is his her humanity, his her detachment from the material world and a crossover into the realm of the spiritualThe whole of her darkened and settled, as when some foil whose addition makes the round and solidity of a surface is added to it, and the shallow becomes deep and the near distant and all is contained as water is contained by the sides of a well So she was now darkened, stilled, and become, with the addition of this Orlando, what is called, rightly or wrongly, a single self, a real selfThe narrative does seem a bit disjointed at certain points, especially when Woolf foregoes conventions and goes into intricate detailing of events which seem of little importance in the greater scheme of things or inserts her witty observations on society s prejudices concerning women, chastity and Orlando, who was a passionate lover of animals, now noticed that her teeth were crooked and the two front turned inward, which, he said, is a sure sign of a perverse and cruel disposition in women, and so broke the engagement that very night for ever I am she that men call Modesty Virgin I am and ever shall be Not for me the fruitful fields and the fertile vineyard Increase is odious to me and when the apples burgeon or the flocks breed, I run, I run, I let my mantle fall My hair covers my eyes, I do not see Spare, O spare Truth come not out from your horrid den Hide deeper, fearful Truth For you flaunt in the brutal gaze of the sun things that were better unknown and undone you unveil the shameful the dark you make clear, Hide Hide HideSee what I mean This is probably Woolf at her funniest and wittiest So not a single sentence or passage can be devalued even though it may appear a little out of place or slow down the progress of the narrative.In essence, Orlando is a summation of all the irrepressible instincts of both the man and woman their quest for love and true wisdom, their search for meaning in chaos, their feelings of inferiority aroused by the vastness of the universe and their desire to find an eternity trapped within their brief lifetimes