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Orlando - Virginia Woolf

Orlando

Author Virginia Woolf

  • Published: 2014-08-31
  • Category: Fiction & Literature

Description

Orlando , A Biography is a novel by Virginia Woolf, first published on 11 October 1928. A semi-biographical novel based in part on the life of Woolf's lover Vita Sackville-West, it is generally considered one of Woolf's most accessible novels. The novel has been influential stylistically, and is considered important in literature generally, and particularly in the history of women's writing, gender studies, and transgender studies. It has inspired adaptations: in 1989 director Robert Wilson and writer Darryl Pinckney collaborated on a theatrical production. A film adaptation was released in 1992, starring Tilda Swinton as Orlando and Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth I. Another stage adaption by Sarah Ruhl premiered in New York City in 2010.Orlando tells the story of a young man named Orlando, born in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. He is briefly a lover to the elderly queen. After her death he has a brief, intense love affair with Sasha, ostensibly a princess in the entourage of the Russian embassy. This episode, of love and excitement against the background of the Frost Fair held on the frozen Thames River during the Great Frost of 1608, is one of the best known of the novel. It is said to represent Vita Sackville-West's affair with Violet Trefusis. Following Sasha's sudden departure and return to Russia, the desolate Orlando returns to writing The Oak Tree, a long poem started and abandoned in his youth. He meets with a famous poet, Nicholas Greene, whom he joyfully entertains, but who criticises Orlando's writing. Later Orlando feels betrayed when he learns that he is the foolishly depicted subject of one of Greene's subsequent works. A period of contemplating love and life leads Orlando to appreciate the value of his ancestral stately home, which he proceeds to furnish lavishly. There he plays host to the populace. Ennui sets in and the harassment of a persistent suitor, the Archduchess Harriet, leads to Orlando's fleeing the country when appointed by King Charles II as ambassador to Constantinople. Orlando performs his duties well, until a night of civil unrest and murderous riots. He falls asleep for a period of days, resistant to all efforts to rouse him.