A Biography

Book - 2006
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Begun as a "joke," Orlando is Virginia Woolf's fantastical biography of a poet who first appears as a sixteen-year-old boy at the court of Elizabeth I, and is left at the novel's end a married woman in the year 1928. Part love letter to Vita Sackville-West, part exploration of the art of biography, Orlando is one of Woolf's most popular and entertaining works. This new annotated edition will deepen readers' understanding of Woolf's brilliant creation.

Annotated and with an introduction by Maria DiBattista
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, c2006.
Edition: Annotated ed., 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780156031516
Branch Call Number: FICTION Woolf Virginia
Characteristics: lxvii, 316 p. :,ill. ;,21 cm.
Additional Contributors: DiBattista, Maria 1947-
Hussey, Mark 1956-


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Feb 09, 2018

I saw the movie in 1993, and enjoyed it, though I didn't always understand it. Seeing it on the library shelves recently, I decided to give it a try. The Vintage edition of 2004 has two introductions, to which I returned when I got bogged down. I often read it in short sections, then at other times would sail through sections--not skimming, but fascinated by the details and the changes in style and Orlando's life. Always, it took a great deal of concentration. Thoroughly wonderful, sly, witty, sometimes sarcastic, often sad. Interesting that Woolf's handling of the transgender theme is to have male Orlando, the British Ambasador to Constantinople, become very ill with fever, and wake up female. As simple as that! The book reminded me very much of "One Hundred Years of Solitude," both in some of its themes and its style, though written decades before that "original" magical realism novel. I've never been able to get through any of Woolf's novels before, though her life has long fascinated me. While this may be , as the introductions indicate, her best, I think I'll try some more. I will probably re-read this one at some point, and understand, and enjoy it, even more.

Jun 08, 2016

Challenging but rewarding in parts.

The chapters are long. The setting/time period are sometimes hard to pin down.

Once Orlando's gender changes halfway through things get more interesting - as Orlando thinks about the ways that her life has changed as a woman.

There is also a heightened level of comedy at this point in the story - as the other characters barely react to the change.

This is a book which felt most engaging at its center.

Read it if you're in the mood for some magical realism or gender discourse

Dec 18, 2013

one of woolf's most accessible novels, this is also one of the funniest and prettiest books i've ever read.

Oct 07, 2011

I totally didn’t get this one, although it was strangely readable. I lost track of who was transgendered and who was immortal and who was both, and wished that those aspects were a subject of the novel and not a device. Like many stories involving longer-than-human lengths of time, a great deal of it is spent on the beginning and then we zoom through the next few hundred years and come to a quick conclusion.

MomoT Sep 15, 2011

Not an easy read and quite frustrating in some ways, but sly and witty in others. Difficult to categorise.

Mar 31, 2011

Orlando who first starts off as a male who writes stories and poetry and over time, he turns into a she. And all his/her struggles with life and their running away and living life which supposedly lasts over 300 years. Unfortunately I didn't get much out of this book.


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AveryG_KCMO Apr 26, 2019

Once look out of a window at bees among flowers, at a yawning dog, at the sun setting, once think "how many more suns shall I see set," etc., etc., (the thought is too well known to be worth writing out) and one drops the pen, takes one's cloak , strides out of the room, and catches one's foot on a painted chest as one does so. For Orlando was a trifle clumsy.


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