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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Orlando doubles as first an Elizabethan nobleman and then as a Victorian heroine who undergoes all the transitions of history in this novel that examines sex roles and social mores.
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Orlando, subtitled A Biography, is one of Virginia Woolf's most experimental works, a jeu d'esprit that becomes increasingly serious as it leads us on a satirical, and intensely poetic, progress through 300 years of English history. It is a book about the nature of writing, which not only plays with literary forms but subverts the fixed categories of time and sexuality. Its hero, who suddenly becomes a heroine, eludes death to live from the reign of Elizabeth I to the end of the 1920s.
While developing her hero-heroine against a richly colored historical backdrop in which many of the great names of English letters play cameo roles, Woolf explores various highly modern themes. The novel, first published in 1928, focuses particularly on the social and political position of women, on societal constructions of sexual identity, and the situation of the woman author. Based in part on the life and career of Vita Sackville-West, with whom Woolf was for a time in love, Orlando extends the boundaries of fiction and makes play with ideas of biographical authority. The novel presages techniques and interests developed in such later works as The Waves (1931) and Between the Acts (1941). Woolf's feminist treatise, A Room of One's Own, published the previous year, shares a number of the novel's concerns.
This edition adopts as its copy-text the surviving proofs marked and revised by Woolf for the novel's American publication. Purged of printing errors, the copy-text is emended by Woolf's later revisions for the first English edition. The text is supplemented by an introduction setting the novel in its literary and biographical contexts, by explanatory notes offering much new information about its sources, and lists of emendations and textual variants.About the Author:
Sally Potter is the award-winning writer/director of The Goldiggers, Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage, and Ginger and Rosa.
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