Orlando by Virginia Woolf
A Biography (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Synopsis

In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, Orlando is a young nobleman at the beginning of the story-and a modern woman three centuries later. “A poetic masterpiece of the first rank” (Rebecca West). The source of a critically acclaimed 1993 feature film directed by Sally Potter. Index; illustrations.
 

About Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf was born in London, the daughter of the prominent literary critic Leslie Stephen. She never received a formal university education; her early education was obtained at home through her parents and governesses. After death of her father in 1904, her family moved to Bloomsbury, where they formed the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of philosophers, writers and artists. As a writer, Woolf was a great experimenter. She scorned the traditional narrative form and turned to expressionism as a means of telling her story. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927), her two generally acknowledged masterpieces, are stream-of-consciousness novels in which most of the action and conflict occur beneath a surface of social decorum. Mrs. Dalloway, set in London shortly after the end of World War I, takes place on a summer's day of no particular significance, except that intense emotion, insanity, and death intrude.To the Lighthouse's long first and third sections, each of which concerns one day 10 years apart, of the same family's summer holidays, are separated and connected by a lyrical short section during which the war occurs, several members of the family die, and decay and corruption run rampant. Orlando (1928) is the chronological life story of a person who begins as an Elizabethan gentleman and ends as a lady of the twentieth century; Woolf's friend, Victoria Sackville-West, served as the principal model for the multiple personalities. (The book was made into a movie in 1993.) Flush (1933) is a dog's soliloquy that, by indirection, recounts the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their elopement and life in Florence. Her last short novel, Between the Acts (1941), was left without her final revision, but it is, nonetheless, a major representation of a society on the verge of collapse. Having had periods of depression throughout her life and fearing a final mental breakdown from which she might not recover, Woolf drowned herself in 1941. Her husband published part of her farewell letter to deny that she had taken her life because she could not face the terrible times of war. Leonard Woolf also edited A Writer's Diary (1953), which provides valuable insights into his wife's private thoughts and literary development. Equally informative are his own autobiographies, particularly Beginning Again and Downhill All the Way (1967), and The Letters of Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey . Virginia Woolf's Granite and Rainbow contains 27 essays on the art of fiction and biography. There are many sidelights on Woolf in the writings, letters, and biographies of other members of her Bloomsbury circle, such as Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes (see Vol. 3), and Lytton Strachey (see Vol. 3). Also casting much light on her life, thought, and creative processes are The Common Reader (1925), The Second Common Reader (1933), A Room of One's Own (1929), Three Guineas (1938), The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), and various collections of her autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters. In addition, in recent years there has been a veritable industry of writers dealing with Woolf and her work.
 
Published September 21, 2012 by Mariner Books. 244 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Gay & Lesbian, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Children's Books. Non-fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for Orlando

The Guardian

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After a seven-year struggle to finance Orlando, Potter cast Tilda Swinton (then known largely for her collaborations with Derek Jarman) in the lead role, playing Orlando both as man and woman.

Jul 03 2004 | Read Full Review of Orlando: A Biography (Penguin...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Virginia Woolf's Orlando was published on this day in 1928.

Oct 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Orlando: A Biography (Penguin...

BellaOnline

Buy From Art.com The mind wants what the mind wants and when you're watching a movie it is usually to know what is going on.

| Read Full Review of Orlando: A Biography (Penguin...

Fantasy Literature

Okay, it’s not snort-beer-out-your-nose funny, (it’s Virginia Woolf after all,) but it’s still witty and fun… probably about as “fun” as Woolf got.

Dec 03 2014 | Read Full Review of Orlando: A Biography (Penguin...

The New Yorker

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Oct 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Orlando: A Biography (Penguin...

Time Out New York

Her commitment deepens Potter’s feminist-chic take on the material, which, aside from several of her lead performer’s striking asides to the camera, has not dated well.

| Read Full Review of Orlando: A Biography (Penguin...

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