Alexander Santiago's Reviews > Orlando

Orlando by Virginia Woolf
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's review
Apr 02, 07

bookshelves: english-literature-history, europa, literary-mavericks
Recommended for: Yes

Reread this book for the third time (the first time being right before the film version back in '94). Upon first reading the novel, I couldn't quite grasp the meaning behind the book, thinking it only a magical ride through the ages of her hero/heroine. Upon further research, I found that this was something of a love letter, an homage to her lover, Vita Sackville-West, in that she fashioned her into a man who becomes a woman through the course of three centuries. Only then did i begin to understand some of the reasoning: Vita being an artist (a poet as well as a novelist, much like Orlando); a manner that was more masculine, even androgynous; not to mention her bisexuality (Woolfe being one of her many female lovers), and the fact that she was unable to inherit her father's estate because she was a woman, such was the inheritance laws of England. It was then i realized that Woolfe used a bit of literary magic to "rectify" Vita's origins that would have her subsequently end up as a woman in modern day (early 20th century) England. A fascinating book indeed.

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