Moving in and out of three centuries and from one gender to the other, this is Virginia Woolf's tribute to Vita Sackville-West. By choosing his/her own sexual identy, Orlando is able to triumph over anatomy and chronology, and Woolf was able to tease out assumptions for biographical writing.
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In 1928, way before everyone else was talking about gender-bending and way, way before the terrific movie with Tilda Swinton, Virginia Woolf wrote her comic masterpiece, a fantastic, fanciful love letter disguised as a biography, to Vita Sackville-West. Orlando enters the book as an Elizabethan nobleman and leaves the book three centuries and one change of gender later as a liberated woman of the 1920s. Along the way this most rambunctious of Woolf's characters engages in sword fights, trades barbs with 18th century wits, has a baby, and drives a car. This is a deliriously written, breathless-making book and a classic both of lesbian literature and the Western canon.From the Inside Flap:
Introduction by Quentin Bell
Originally conceived by Virginia Woolf as a playful tribute to Vita Sackville-West, the central character lives as both a man and a woman through four centuries. This definitive edition contains the original Hogarth Press text as overseen by the author, the illustrations which appeared in the first edition in 1928 and a list of textual variants that appeared during her lifetime.
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