Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf's fantastical novel about an Elizabethan nobleman who lives for three centuries and transitions into a woman, with a new introduction by Carmen Maria Machado.

The long-lived protagonist of Orlando begins as a passionate teenage aristocrat, whose days are spent in rowdy revelry at the colorful Tudor court of Queen Elizabeth and his nights in writing earnest poetry. A favorite of the elderly queen, he falls in love with and is jilted by a wayward Russian princess. Two kings later, now in his thirties, Orlando is sent to serve as ambassador to Constantinople, where he awakens one day to find himself in the body of a woman. The Lady Orlando takes this circumstance in stride. She returns to England, engages in love affairs with both men and women, consorts with the famous poets of each age, finds happiness with a gender-nonconforming husband, and at last achieves publication of her own epic poem in the year 1928. A playful and exuberant romp through history, Orlando is Woolf’s most lighthearted and unusual novel.


"As a work of political satire and feminist fantasy, Orlando laid the groundwork for today’s cultural landscape, in which the boundaries of both gender and literary genre are more porous than ever . . . If published today, Orlando might have been misshelved not as biography but as fantasy or science fiction — genres in which women writers in recent years have increasingly found the space to challenge the straight-white-male strictures of both realist fiction and reality itself. Orlando’s blend of social critique and bold fantasy echoes in the postwar fiction of Ursula Le Guin and Angela Carter, and more recently in the fairy-tale retellings of Helen Oyeyemi and Daniel Mallory Ortberg — as well as in novels like Melissa Broder’s The Pisces." —Vulture

Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0593685389
Pages: 208