Orlando, A Biography

Orlando, A Biography[Download] ➶ Orlando, A Biography By Virginia Woolf – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Orlando has always been an outsider His longing for passion adventure and fulfilment takes him out of his own time Chasing a dream through the centuries he bounds from Elizabethan England and imperial Orlando has always been an outsider His longing for passion adventure and fulfilment takes him out of his own time Chasing a dream through the centuries he bounds from Elizabethan England and imperial Turkey to the modern world Will he find happiness with the exotic Russian Princess Sasha Or is the Orlando, A PDF \ dashing explorer Shelmerdine the ideal man And what form will Orlando take on the journey a nobleman traveller writer Man or woman A wry commentary on gender and history Orlando is also in Woolf's own words a light hearted 'writer's holiday' which delights in ambiguity and capriciousness. My mom made me clean my room this weekend No not a teenage pain in the ass cleaning of the room this was THE cleaning of the room As in it was finally time to take apart the room I’d had in that house since we moved there somewhere around my thirteenth birthday Look you guys I get it I’m twenty four That’s another one of those Facts of Life that just happens to you and most people would say I was far past time for this And you know what? I was doing okay with it It went slowly but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be I went through old clothes trophies from various sporting events yeah I spent sometime laughing about the fact that I used to do sports too old pictures of friends and even boyfriends and the major breakdown I was waiting for happily stayed away Yessir I was a okayThen I got to The Wall It was the last thing to be done and I just couldn’t bring myself to do than look at it and then utterly lose my shit Why that when nothing else managed to get to me? Well here’s why I started building that wall when I was thirteen years old It’s full of every person I was thought I was or hoped that I would become It started on the back of the door which was plastered all over with uotes in ridiculous fonts from my favorite books I can tell you the exactly the path I followed putting things up on that door by where the uotes are from and three pages of plastered uotes describing my personality at sixteen that a friend gave me for Christmas There’s the label from my junior year birthday present from my friends that says “The flamboyant actress’ box of stuff” which is right next to two posters of illustrated Shakespearean uotes I got in Stratford and over Glinda the Good Witch sitting on top of the lightswitch saying “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas” I didn’t put that there and to this day I have no idea who did This gives way to black and white posters showing scenes of Paris cutouts from about a bazillion travel magazines pictures I took in Ireland and England including a prominently placed one on top of Glastonbury Tor a speculative geneology chart out of the Arthurian legends a painting by Magritte a huge section of black and white glamour shots of old Hollywood stars Grace Kelly Elizabeth Taylor Errol Flynn a photo of Bogey looking down a totally unaware Marilyn Monroe’s dress a drunk Orson Welles bombasting to Tony Curtis my headshots and professional photos from the various productions I was in cast photos and a picture of the voice teacher who was my second mother for many yearsIn other words it’s the most fucking ridiculous part of the room You’d think I’d be glad to get rid of the the embarrassing evidence of my bad taste failed dreams and terrible role models And yet that part was the only thing I gave a shit about I really felt like crap about it until I read Orlando and saw this “For she had a great variety of selves to call upon far than we have been able to find room for since a biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves whereas a person may have many thousandand these selves of which we are built up one on top of the other as plates are piled on a waiter’s hand have attachments elsewhere sympathies little constitutions and rights of their own so that one will only come if it is raining another in a room with green cutrains another when Mrs Jones is not there and some are too wildly ridiculous to be mentioned in print at all”and this “naturehas further complicated her task and added to our confusion by providing a perfect rag bag of odds and ends within us a piece of a policeman’s trousers lying cheek by jowl with ueen Alexandra’s wedding veilInstead of being a single downright bluff piece of work of which no man need feel ashamed our commonest deeds are set about with a fluttering and flickering of wings a rising and falling of lights”I wrote in an earlier Vita review about my envy of coherence and life stories that make sense and how frustrated I was that I couldn’t make my own follow a similar pattern Woolf understands this frustration “a single downright piece of work of which no man need feel ashamed” and tells me why it isn’t ever going to happen the thousands of selves and ueen Alexandra’s wedding veil and the policeman’s trousers what sort of goddess thinks of that? and then gift of all gifts she seems both to understand it and even sympathize with it in her way And this isn’t some poet off the street we’re talking about this is Virginia Woolf She’s okay with inconsistencies? Someone that smart is fascinated with absurdities flights of fancy illogical trains of thought even slowness in someone that she loves this deeply? She’s willing to write 300 pages celebrating it even?Screw bodice rippers that thought is the best porn that literary devising could give me She gave me back Glinda and Bogey and made me feel proud to take them Orlando is many things but it is above all a story that tries to make a dozen fantasies seem possible or even the inevitable result of a life that is lived with all those thousand selves really getting in their say While Woolf’s tone in this book is often light mocking wry or even cutting I don’t think that this detracted from the sublime uality of the story that she’s telling If anything her wry asides made the telling of Orlando that much meaningful By engaging with prosaic reality every so often reminding us about the Nick Greenes of the world the merchants the couples walking two by Victorian two she shows us why Orlando should be celebrated if only for making it through the day never mind the years on top of years intact There’s nobody like Virginia Woolf for getting the most out of the heroic efforts of every last moment and just why it tortures us so much “The present participle is the Devil” she says here and speaks lovingly of the past and future that shield us from the terrifying fact that we are here and now and we’re supposed to be someone doing somethingTime is the enabler of the novel the vehicle through which all this exploration takes place the administrative assistant that dispenses elfish magic when needed and sends out stern reminders of the rules when they are being ignored but it’s one of Time’s children that’s both the demon and the anti hero of the whole thing Memory Memory is the both the cocoon that protects Orlando from the ravages of ‘growing up’ too much and the beast that tries to tear her fragile defenses into shreds the second he isn’t looking don’t get me for pronoun confusion I know what I did there It’s a dangerous drug to pull out regularly Because no actually you can’t stop whenever you want to “ it has contrived that the whole assortment shall be stitched together by a single thread Memory 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 movment 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 wind”And no there’s no way of safely taking it either “Every single thing once he tried to dislodge it from its place in his mind he found thus cumbered with other matter like the lump of glass which after a year at the bottom of the sea is grown about with bones and dragon flies and coins and the tresses of drowned women”There was a period in my life after a particularly traumatic experience that I would stop in the street sometimes muttering “Shut up shut up shut up” My terrible therapist called me “weird” my mother decided I was talking to her my friends made a nervous joke out of it But Woolf understands the freakish intersection of memory and the present moment your body is in It’s guerilla warfare out there the even scarier modern kind where there are even less decent barriers as to when and where it is okay for the enemy to try and fuck you up It’s not just running into an old friend hearing a song with certain associations that’ll do it And don’t think you can go searching the banks for something useful to you without paying compounded interest there’s no such thing as a free lunch especially not in the Memory banks One memory is part of another memory and unless you are far better at compartmentalizing than me even reaching for a good memory is going to involve pushing through the muck to get to it It’s sad to think that Woolf probably understood this due to her own troubles with the state of her sanity She uses words like “assault” when talking about time imagery of rushing waves when showing Orlando’s memories intruding upon her again and again you don’t do that unless you know what the hell you’re talking about I can see why she went on to write a book called The Waves right after thisIt’s actually a pretty funny book though I feel like I’m giving you the wrong idea of it It’s lighthearted most of the time there are excellent jokes in the style of Wodehouse in an archly amused tone that I just loved It comments on gender women in society the industry of writing writers themselves historians the Victorian age Romantic sensibilities and does it in a style that’s the most accessible I’ve ever seen her write She openly invites you to be in on the joke and comment all you like as the Vanity Fair passes you by I felt uite worldly observing things from her perch It feels like her contribution to all the genres of literature that happened to be popular at the time making use of all of them getting trapped by the conventions of none Parts of it just happened to give me some words I’ve been desperately searching for so I did the fall on my knees and worship thing instead of attending the tea party afterwards But don’t worry she still found time to help Bertie Wooster out of his latest engagement 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 uintessence 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 featherLove it 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 point “For 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 tinder” Tilda Swinton as Orlando in the 1992 film adaptationMore significantly it was also homage to someone she loved uite 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 haunting “By 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 critiue 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 timeI 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 yearI’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 glassesForget 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 book than 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 episodeThis biography tells us the story of Orlando an individual born as a biological male who lives for than three hundred years Seems interesting enough right? There’s at 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 novelBut 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 unpredictableWhat 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 somewhereOrlando’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 was He 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 woman Although 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 much than 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 no than fantasies that could easily be stripped off for the benefit of another that better suited the individualStill 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 pink Memory 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 wind Other aspect that was surely to please me was Woolf’s addressing to memory time and consciousness topics I’ve been reading about for uite 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 attentionBack 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 lovehate 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 improvedFilm 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 ueen 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 doesRating 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 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 a heavy 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 historianbiographer 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 uite 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 eual 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 in tolerant 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 bookIn 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 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 studiesتاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوازدهم ماه می سال 2009 میلادیعنوان ارلاندو حقیقت چهار قرن زندگی اثری ادبی عرفانی انتقادی؛ نویسنده ویرجینیا وولف؛ مترجم محمد نادری؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، 1370، در 279 ص، چاپ بعدی 1381؛ چاپ چهارم 1388؛ شابک 9789640007709؛ چاپ دیگر 1395؛ در 343 ص؛ شابک 9789640018897؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی سده 20 معنوان ارلاندو؛ نویسنده ویرجینیا وولف؛ مترجم فریده مهدوی دامغانی؛ تهران، تیر، 1379؛ در 250 ص؛ شابک 9646581382؛ عنوان ارلاندو؛ نویسنده ویرجینیا وولف؛ مترجم فرزانه قوجلو؛ تهران، نشر قطره، 1386؛ در 310 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1388؛ چاپ سوم 1395؛ شابک 9789643416782؛بیهوده است که بخواهم داستان «ارلاندو» را تعریف کنم، در این رمان داستانی به داستان دیگر میآمیزد گویی در هزارتویی از قصه، گرفتار آمده باشیم، شخصیت اصلی، در زمان «ملکه الیزابت» به دنیا میآید، هرگز نمیمیرد، بلکه در هر دوره، و در هر سده، پوست عوض میکند کس دیگر میشود، تا به عصر خوانشگر برسد رمان، دگرگونی در هر لحظه زیستن را، به نمایش میگذارد، ارلاندو، دم به دم، چهره دیگر میکند، زمانی مرد است، و سفیر، گاه دیگر زن است، و همراه کولیان، گوسفند میچراند، زمانی لرد است، و سرای او محفل بزرگان، و دولتمردان، و زمانی دیگر شاعر و گوشه نشین است اما آنچه او همیشه میجوید زندگی است، و همیشه شیفته ی نوشتن است، در اوج ناامیدی، و در قله های شادی، همچنان مینویسد ا شربیانی 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 presentWoolf’s hero heroine man woman he she is hundreds of years old lucky himher 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 perhaps confusing 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 160809 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 centuryAfter 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 goodIn 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 techniue 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 ualities Woolf has faced suarely 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 Fun vibrant modern and rich with live Green in nature is one thing green in literature another Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to piecesGeneralThe sheer fun and vibrancy that Virginia Woolf brings in this book is tremendousI can only compare it to the typical English humor found while reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the first few whimsical pages of The Once and Future King while the lyrical nature of the work made me think of Jeanette Winterson Finally Girl Woman Other popped up in my mind while reading this classic due to the same approach of large strides through time caught in flowing proseOrlando compelled me to read on through lush and flowy sentences putting thoughts of disbelief and historical accuracy far behind me Nowhere did the book feel like an almost 100 year old piece The Elizabethan age reimaginedThe omniscient narrator that I take to be Woolf spices up the book The first chapter starts off with how Orlando gets in ueen Elizabeth her favor has him overlooking around 30 counties very Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus like in my mind and the armada from his house We also have a hilarious story on how an almshouse was only founded to appease the guilty conscience of a Duke accidently glancing Orlando and a conuest During the little ice age with the Thames frozen over we meet Russian beauty Marusha Stanislovska Dagmar Natasja Iliana Romanovitsj aka Sasja with a delightfully build up romantic inner monologue ending with the majestic first words “Could you please pass me the salt?” And then we have scandal materializing when Orlando tries to get rid of the engagement with Lady Margaret O’Brien O’Dare O’Reilly Tyrconnell aka Euphrosyne We have beautiful iceskating scenes in the cold where Woolf asserts that birds dropped frozen from the sky people just crumbled from a gale of icy wind and everyday was a feast held outside on the frozen river in front of the palaceIt’s like a medieval knights tale Lazarillo De Tormes medieval work or Candide but than successful in satirizing the day and age in a mischievous tongue in the cheek mannerThe continuation of the narrative Instead of being a single downright bluff piece of work of which no man need feel ashamed our commonest deeds are set about with a fluttering and flickering of wings a rising and falling of lightsChapter two starts of with our main character sleeping for an unexplained mysterious “religion founding” mysterious full seven days After this Orlando is kind of regenerated in a Doctor Who style and our narrator moves on with the tale since no answer on his strange condition is forthcoming in half an hour’s time En passant we learn his house is like that in the Adam’s family leading people to their untimely deaths with the staff occasionally finding twisted remains and bones during cleaning Our main character falls victim to two plagues reading and writing For once the disease of reading has laid upon the system it weakens so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the uill The wretch takes to writingWe have a poetcritic who embodies a yearning for citylife that made me think of how Woolf herself was portrayed in The Hours But in the end Orlando turns away from fame and thinking of critiue decides to write just for pleasure and use anonymity to leave a mark on the world Better was it to go unknown and leave behind you an arch then to burn like a meteor and leave no dustHe then goes about homedecorating in the most extravagant way until a the ugly head of love aka Romanian archduchess Harriet Griselda of Finster Aarhorn and Scand upon Tree turns upIn chapter three Orlando flees to Constantinople as ambassador for Charles the second and gives the greatest party ever I just saw The Great Gatsby pool scenes during this segment before collapsing to another 7 days of sleep and now a sex change Contrary to what might be expected Orlando’s womanhood brings him much joy ending with a simple life in Thessaly as a gypsyBut in the end an old passion stirs No passion is stronger in the breast of a man than the desire to make others believe as he believes Nothing so cuts at the root of his happiness and fills him with rage as the sense that another rates low what he prizes high and she returns to EnglandLife as a womanChapter four has Orlando getting to know her femininity and all the restrictions flowing from that moniker from no longer showing her beautiful legs to being legally dead and a woman which is basically the same thing as Woolf wryly notes The archduchess Harriet returns and turns out to be a man archduke Harry and Orlando can get rid of him not by sword or female wit but by cheating and a toad conveniently carried around the whole day In London she discovers that a lady can’t go to the Mall without being suashed by the common people given an emerald brooch and getting a marriage proposal And she discovers the high society At one and the same time therefore society is everything and society is nothing Society is the most powerful concoction in the world and society has no existence whatsoever meets famous poets and writers who all in the end dissapointMore and she switches between gender expression and male and female lovers as the nineteenth century startsHowever chapter 5 has the winds of Victorian time sweeping into the life of Orlando and nature taking a prominent role Her great poem The Oak ends up being published without much intrinsic satisfaction for her but to great critical acclaimSocietally speaking marriage becomes important; Orlando finds on the moors a fitting companion who uickly notes she is a man at heart and of which she thinks he’s just like a woman This Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine leaves for South Africa at the end of the sectionChapter six has Orlando alone or with child that's not really clear to me crashing into the twentieth century The great war is left in lieu for reflections on Orlando getting to the mature age of 36 Everything from this new age reminds her to earlier experiences and brings her memories This leads her to think I’m sick to death of this particular selfBut she does like the vibrancy and speed of modern city life while the love for the nature of England also persistently shines through She remembers her husband and her history while we end the book at midnight Thursday 11 October 1928I feel Woolf covers so much topics and reflections on human experience in this book But above all I found it a very modern uniue and fun work something not many classics can say5 starsInitial responseLoved it even worked from home this morning just to have some time to finish this book in lieu of travel time Full review to come Totally new review replacing ancient short less favourable oneOrlando or LAN do Wrap your tongue around it and whisper it There’s a luscious syrupy sensual mysterious feel Much like the eponymous heroine and the sumptuously described natural and man made world Orlando inhabitsThe 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 MetamorphosesImage Tilda Swinton as Orlando leaning against an oak tree the title of Orlando’s lifelong poem SourceMy 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 read WoolfThe 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 familyBut 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 HEREOrlando’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 uotes from and satire of famous writers and critics; ueer 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 endingThe Plot“ Time passed and nothing whatever happened”This is not primarily a plot driven novel and for Orlando time is as flexible as sexgender 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 no than three seconds Orlando is a teenage nobleman in the court of Elizabeth I He communes with nature and writes prolifically He has lovers of bothambiguous 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 birthdaysIf 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 uest 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 SourceFor 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 loveruotes“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 Wildeuotes about Literature• “Now all young writers were in the pay of the booksellers and poured out any trash that would sell” In the 16th17th 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”uotes 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 is heavenly 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”uotes about WeatherSeasonsSignificant 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 and intense; dawns were whiter and auroral Of our crepuscular half lights lingering twilights they knew nothing The rain fell vehemently or not at all”• “The euable 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 the positive landscapes Under this bruised and sullen canopy the green of the cabbages was less intense and the white of the snow was muddied”uotes 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 buras 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 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 uestioning the boundaries of space and time but to this reader this novella meant much It meant a universe of fluctuating moods characters and sweeping poetry that gives reason to be through the act of readingHow 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 formHow 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 conseuence when love for the written word euals 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 groundingsThe result be it an experimental biography an unorthodox love declaration or a thought provoking roman à 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

Orlando, A Biography Epub Í Orlando, A  PDF \
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Orlando, A Biography
  • Virginia Woolf
  • 28 January 2016
  • 9781545594490