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Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando (1928)

by Virginia Woolf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,301133664 (3.89)2 / 502
Virginia Woolf's exuberant `biography' tells the story of the cross-dressing, sex-changing Orlando who begins life as a young noble in the sixteenth century and moves through numerous historical and geographical worlds to finish as a modern woman writer in the 1920s. The book is in part ahappy tribute to the `life' that her love for Vita Sackville-West had breathed into Virginia Woolf's own day-to-day existence; it is also Woolf's light-hearted and light-handed teasing out of the assumptions that lie behind the normal conventions for writing about a fictional or historical life. Inthis novel, Virginia Woolf plays loose and fast: Orlando uncovers a literary and sexual revolution overnight.… (more)
  1. 00
    Orlando [1992 film] by Sally Potter (JuliaMaria)
  2. 00
    The Art of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza (julienne_preacher)
  3. 00
    Candide by Voltaire (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: They have the same kind of wide-eyed satirical quality.
1920s (43)
Romans (32)
Modernism (128)

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English (121)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (133)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Listened to the audio version read by Clare Higgins this year as a re-visiting of the story. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
I'm going to be honest with you people, I wanted to read this book and I enjoyed parts of it, but it's a struggle and it shouldn't take this long to read under 200 pages

maybe I'll pick it up one day when I have endless time and no studying to do or 400 other books to read
  runtimeregan | Jun 12, 2019 |
December 4, 2015

This time I read the book aloud, my partner had never read any Virginia Woolf before and has the tendency to fall asleep when reading anything that doesn't relate to work. During the course of the novel I, of course, lost track of many sentences, lost breath after third semicolons and sometimes hopelessly mangled pronunciations of words I had never in my life said aloud.

Woolf's work shined through even my fumblings. Orlando's journey to become an artist was as much an adventure as it ever was.

May 30, 2011


I am swept away by Woolf's writing. Truly. I don't understand how I was able to accept reading only excerpts of this for class, not insisting on seeing it through. College is good for many things, but sometimes books should just be handed out in time-locked boxes ready to spring open when your life has a particular gap in it ready to be filled with pages like these.

Woolf blends history, fantasy, philosophy and all the tropes of biography to create this funny and beautiful story. I never thought Woolf would be funny. My perception of her comes from sad-eyed photographs, snippets of her writing (which does not benefit from snipping) and how she killed herself. But what comes out of this book here is good humor and sheer love of creation, specifically writing.

Its true the most vivid scenes are of the Elizabethan court and the great frost during King James' reign, and the chill confines of the 19th century. The strongest messages are there. The whole of the story is a great read though. I gather that her other books are not so light-hearted as this one, but I look forward to reading them.

Edit: I'm actually mad at myself. Not livid, but mildly angry that I can't convey in words just how much I enjoyed this book, what I suspect its going to mean to me down the road.

'Orlando' is pure genius, daring and wholly original. Maybe next time I'll get my act together and do this book justice. ( )
2 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Biological Constructs: "Orlando" by Virginia Woolf

(Original Review, 2002-06-18)

I’m probably in a minority, but I find Woolf hugely overrated. A snob in the way that Wilde was a snob before her, sucking up to the wealthy and titled and, like Wilde, happy to be unfaithful if it ingratiated her with the gentry. People go on about ‘a room of one’s own’ but have they read the whole piece? She thought only a few superior personages should be allowed to write, and then only for a select audience. ( )
  antao | Nov 26, 2018 |
A surreal novel, unmoored from conventional time framework, centred on an immortal, sometimes male and sometimes female. Woolf was a highly skilled writer, and though the work is sometimes entertaining, overall, I found this exercise dull. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (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 (72 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Woolf, VirginiaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowen, ElizabethAfterwordsecondary 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
Whitworth, Michael H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterson, JeanetteIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Estonian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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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