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Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando (1928)

by Virginia Woolf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,572129674 (3.9)2 / 489
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English (119)  Swedish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
about a person that changes genders and lives over several centuries ( )
  margaretfield | May 30, 2018 |
I read this one not knowing exactly what it was about - and I find a very funny, well written, Satire-ish book on what it means to be man or a woman in the British England. First - this is a book you have to read carefully. Orlando doesn't age like a regular person, so years pass, societal beliefs, and general culture change in a blink of an eye. But, it is written in an easy style, with a light touch that makes it a very accessible book. It's a completely different style than Virginia Woolf's other books (Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, etc.)

Ms. Woolf has a way of writing that manages to capture the absurdity of culture's expectation of both being Male and being Female. Orlando, being both at different times, shows just how limiting both are sexes are. Its also a critique of Victorian England and how stifling it is to women. ( )
1 vote TheDivineOomba | May 25, 2018 |
3.5 ( )
  aljosa95 | Mar 27, 2018 |

This is quite different from a lot of Woolf's other work - much more accessibly written in some ways, and yet also the least naturalistic in that her title character is apparently immortal (or at least lives from the Elizabethan era until the end of the story in 1928) and changes gender, first from man to woman, and then more arbitrarily as the centuries pass. Of course, this doesn't reflect the lived reality of the genderfluid, but it's a really interesting approach to writing about the issue in a way that expresses some part of that lived reality, set against the cultural changes of the past 350 years. The Victorians come off as particularly awful, which may well be fair enough but of course is also a reaction against the obsessions of Woolf's parents. I enjoyed it, in a different way to Woolf's other work ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Mar 11, 2018 |
This classic novel by Virginia Woolf follows long-lived Orlando through many centuries and a change of gender.

Magical realism, English literature, pretty language -- these seem to be why people like this book. Those don't particularly speak to me, unfortunately, especially as the plot seems merely there to hang long pretty discursive prose on, and to gossip about the thinly veiled main character (who embodies Woolf's real-life lady lover's family stories). A few asides were humorous to me, and I liked the sense that the houses and trees and lineages have lives just this long in our normal reality, and that our childhoods really are quite different from our presents but we tend to forget all the ways how they differ, and that nostalgia can sell stories that would have failed to sell in their own time.

Alas but I am not the target for this book. It isn't my style and didn't speak loudly enough: it was work to read. (On the bright side, I now have a much better informed opinion of Virginia Woolf.) ( )
  pammab | Jan 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
Next time anyone tries to tell you – as people often do – that Virginia Woolf was a cold fish, just direct them to her seductive writing about winter. It warms the heart.
added by Nickelini | editThe Guardian, Sam Jordison (Dec 5, 2011)

» Add other authors (77 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Woolf, Virginiaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowen, ElizabethAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, SandraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sandra M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herlitschka, Herberth E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herlitschka, MarlysTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Livi, GraziaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyons, BrendaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalero, AlessandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalero, GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simonsuuri, KirstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterson, JeanetteIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To V. Sackville-West
First words
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.
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Sull'uomo oscuro, l'Oscurità distende i suoi veli misericordiosi. Nessuno sa dove egli vada, né donde venga. Gli è concesso di cercar la verità, e di dirla; egli solo è libero; egli solo è veritiero; egli solo è in pace.
Gli edifici avevano una simmetria aerea eppur rigida sconosciuta alla luce del giorno. La volta del cielo pareva un intonaco abilmente disteso per completare i contorni dei tetti e dei camini.
… e il vento sparpagliò le parole che salirono turbinando come falchi selvaggi fra le guglie e sempre più in alto, sempre più lontane, sempre più rapide, finché s'infransero e ricaddero in terra in una pioggia di sillabe; …
Si figurava che le stanze s'illuminassero al suo entrare; che si sgranchissero, aprissero gli occhi come se in assenza di lei avessero sonnecchiato. E per quanto le avesse viste centinaia, anzi migliaia di volte, mai le apparivano due volte sotto lo stesso aspetto: in un'esistenza lunga come la loro, avevano radunato tra le pareti una miriade di stati d'animo, i quali mutavano con l'estate e con l'autunno, col sole e con la pioggia, a seconda delle vicende di Orlando e del carattere di chi vi entrava. Cortesi lo erano sempre, coi forestieri, ma un poco stanche; con lei invece si aprivano interamente, si rianimavano. E come avrebbe potuto esser diverso? Si conoscevano da secoli, ormai. Non avevano nulla da nascondersi. Ella conosceva le loro gioie e i loro dolori. Sapeva l'età di ogni minima parte della casa, e i piccoli segreti: un cassetto celato, un armadio mascherato; qualche lieve difetto, anche, come una parte aggiunta posteriormente o restaurata. E le stanze, a loro volta, conoscevano ogni suo capriccio, e ogni sua trasformazione. Nulla aveva loro nascosto, mai; era venuta a loro fanciullo e donna, piangendo e danzando, pensosa e gaia. Sul banco nel vano di quella finestra aveva scritto i primi versi suoi; in quella cappella era andata a nozze. E qui sarebbe stata sepolta, pensava, i ginocchi sul sedile sotto la vetrata, nella lunga galleria, assaporando il vin di Spagna.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 015670160X, Paperback)

In 1928, way before everyone else was talking about gender-bending and way, way before the terrific movie with Tilda Swinton, Virginia Woolf wrote her comic masterpiece, a fantastic, fanciful love letter disguised as a biography, to Vita Sackville-West. Orlando enters the book as an Elizabethan nobleman and leaves the book three centuries and one change of gender later as a liberated woman of the 1920s. Along the way this most rambunctious of Woolf's characters engages in sword fights, trades barbs with 18th century wits, has a baby, and drives a car. This is a deliriously written, breathless-making book and a classic both of lesbian literature and the Western canon.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:08 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A fictional biography of the gender-bending Orlando and his adventures throughout four centuries, from Elizabethan England to the 1900s.

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Average: (3.9)
0.5 4
1 28
1.5 8
2 73
2.5 26
3 256
3.5 78
4 449
4.5 64
5 422

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141184272, 0140622810, 0141198524, 0143566458

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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