“I’m sick to death of this particular self. I want another.”
Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is the extraordinary biography of a young nobleman in the court of Elizabeth I who transforms into a woman and lives for over three centuries. In his youth, Orlando is a passionate lover and poet. He dotes on the Queen, serves King James faithfully, falls deeply in love with a Russian princess, and becomes an ambassador to Constantinople, but at his heart all Orlando ever wants to be is a great writer (and living at the same time as Marlowe, Donne, and Shakespeare, this is no easy thing). But while living in Constantinople, one evening Orlando is transformed into woman, though she retains all her memories and personality; the only thing that changes about Orlando is her body. Now as a woman, she must navigate complex and exclusionary legal systems throughout the ages, her own previous views on gender, society’s expectations of marriage, and her own ambitions as a poet—not to mention having to grapple with a seemingly immortal lifespan.
An unusual and profound examination of gender roles, expression, and identity, Orlando is one of Woolf’s best known and best loved works, and it remains just as relevant and revolutionary today as when it was first published.
Release date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics
Print pages: 134
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