Penguin Clothbound Classics, 336 pages

English language

Published Oct. 27, 2016 by Penguin Classics.


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4 stars (4 reviews)

Virginia Woolf's Orlando 'The longest and most charming love letter in literature', playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf's close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth's England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Constantinople, awakes to find that he is a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the novel ends in 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women. Orlando, now a wife and mother, stands poised at the brink of a future that holds new hope and promise for women.

49 editions

Wonderfully bizarre

4 stars

I deliberately didn't read up about Orlando before I started listening to my Audible download because I didn't want to be be distracted by trying to fit facts of Woolf's life with Vita Sackville-West into whatever the story would bring. I think I made the right decision - and probably wouldn't have got the references anyway! Orlando is written as the biography of an Elizabethan boy who ages only twenty-odd years while the rest of the world advances by several hundred years. Oh, and Orlando also becomes a woman. As you do.

I absolutely adored Woolf's descriptions of Elizabethan England. Her prose when she allows it to run away with her is sublime and many times I felt as if I were really there. My audio was narrated by Clare Higgins who does a fantastic job throughout, especially during such passages. Other highlights for me were the encroachment of the …

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  • Transsexuals--Fiction
  • Nobility--Fiction
  • Sex role--Fiction
  • England--Fiction