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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  75,517 ratings  ·  5,533 reviews
Virginia Woolf's Orlando 'The longest and most charming love letter in literature', playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf's close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth's England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first lo ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 28th 2000 by Modern Classics (first published October 11th 1928)
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Luis Felipe Be warned that this is not precisely light reading. It's a dense novel ripe with elevated vocabulary and what I can only describe as poetic descriptio…moreBe warned that this is not precisely light reading. It's a dense novel ripe with elevated vocabulary and what I can only describe as poetic descriptions and little to no dialog between the different characters. The language is beautiful, but rather complex and sometimes it's a lot to process at once. This is definitely a step above Mrs. Dalloway in that regard.(less)
Matthew Williams Orlando is not exactly representative of her body of work. I would actually call Orlando a wild card. I would start with To The Lighthouse or Mrs. Dal…moreOrlando is not exactly representative of her body of work. I would actually call Orlando a wild card. I would start with To The Lighthouse or Mrs. Dalloway if you want to have a general feel for her work. I have an excellent time reading Woolf. Don't let others scare you off. Virginia Woolf is reader-friendly!(less)
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My mom made me clean my room this weekend. No, not a teenage pain-in-the-ass cleaning of the room, this was THE cleaning of the room. As in, it was finally time to take apart the room I’d had in that house since we moved there somewhere around my thirteenth birthday.

Look you guys, I get it. I’m twenty-four. That’s another one of those Facts of Life that just happens to you, and most people would say I was far past time for this. And you know what? I was doing okay with it. It went slowly, but i
"I'm sick to death of this particular self. I want another."

Orlando to me is a dream come true in literature. Being able to move in time and space and to change my gender with my moods is a deeply satisfying idea. It is the quintessence of what reading means in my life - the opportunity to leave my own life behind and step into the body and soul of other people, only to move on again when I feel like it. I can be intensely engaged for a week, and then put the adventure safely into my memory an
Sean Barrs
Woolf did not write this book for her readers; she specifically wrote it for her close “friend” and fellow writer Vita Sackville-West. As such Woolf does things she would not normally do in her writing; it is not at all serious but instead takes on the form of a literary homage, homage to reading and writing. My case in point:

“For it would seem - her case proved it - that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre o
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 675 From 1001 Books) - Orlando = Orlando: A Biography, Virginia Woolf

Orlando: A Biography is a novel by Virginia Woolf, first published on 11 October 1928. A high-spirited romp inspired by the tumultuous family history of Woolf's lover and close friend, the aristocratic poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, it is arguably one of Woolf's most popular novels: a history of English literature.

The book describes the adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centurie
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time reading Orlando. It was also my second time.

I like to think that everything happens for a reason - not that I believe it was planned or decided by a powerful creature for me - but because the idea that everything effects what surrounds it sounds about right to me. So I see a purpose in this reading experience that Virginia Woolf provided me and take it as an important lesson to carry with me from now on - and how appropriate that it came just at the beginning of a new and
Violet wells
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My second reading of Orlando bore out my overriding impression the first time I read it – that this is a brilliant comic performance until Woolf, before finishing, runs out of steam. Towards the end it becomes apparent she’s no longer in the same spirit with which she began the book. What begins as pure parody ends up a serious attempt to understand her subject. The delicious light skip of her lyrical irony no longer seems at the beck and call of her wit towards the end. You can sense, even see ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew for sure I wasn't expecting anything like 'To the Lighthouse' with Orlando, but what I didn't know is just how much sheer pleasure Orlando would end up giving me, as this went right beyond my expectations, the days reading it seemed invigorated somehow. Woolf has broken with tradition and convention and has set out to explore a kind of fourth dimensional approach to writing. Not that she has abandoned the stream of consciousness method which she used with such conspicuous success in her p ...more
Totally new review (replacing ancient, short, less favourable one).
Orlando. or-LAN-do. Wrap your tongue around it, and whisper it. There’s a luscious, syrupy, sensual, mysterious feel. Much like the eponymous hero(ine), and the sumptuously described natural and man-made world Orlando inhabits.

The name conjures cross-dressing disguises in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, a Marmalade Cat, maybe Tilda Swinton or Legolas, and, for Google, theme parks in Florida. If you know the novel’s USP and Greek my
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orlando is a biography written about a fictitious character, Orlando, which was inspired by Virginia's real-life friend and lover Vita Sackville-West. The story spans over 400 years where Orlando's life changes from man to woman, from century to century.

Gender difference is the main focus of the story. Through Orlando's transformation from man to woman, Virginia subtly exposes the gender difference or in her view the "gender neutrality". Virginia believed in gender neutrality, affirming that th
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I first read this many years ago; before I knew very much about Virginia Woolf and her relationship with Vita Sackville-West, to whom this is dedicated. The background is vital because it adds so much and because it helps the reader to reach an understanding of Woolf’s generosity. It is as ever, beautifully written and drifts splendidly through the centuries and the key is Vita and their circle.
As Woolf was writing this her affair with Vita was beginning to wane as Vita was moving on to other l
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fun, vibrant, modern and rich with live
Green in nature is one thing, green in literature another. Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to pieces.

The sheer fun and vibrancy that Virginia Woolf brings in this book is tremendous.
I can only compare it to the typical English humor found while reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the first few whimsical pages of The Once and Future King, while the lyrical nature of the work m
Orlando naturally loved solitary places, vast views, and to feel himself for ever and ever and ever alone.
Orlando ~~ Virginia Woolf


Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando is a romping, time-travelling feminist escapade. The protagonist, Orlando, begins life as a handsome, young, male, seventeenth-century aristocrat who changes gender and moves towards 1928 ~~ pivotal as the year which saw the granting of universal voting to women. Not only does Woolf’s spiritual narrative comment on contemporary que
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dolors by: My Woolfish hunger
Shelves: read-in-2016
Orlando might have been devised as a mere divertimento, as a playful attempt to challenge the established views on sexuality or as a fantastical tale to confront the history of East and West by questioning the boundaries of space and time, but to this reader this novella meant much more. It meant a universe of fluctuating moods, characters and sweeping poetry that gives reason to be through the act of reading.

How to describe the nuanced melody of finely threaded irony prodigiously in tune with t
The most prudent way to review a Virginia Woolf book, perhaps, would be to write 'THIS IS STUPENDOUS. GENIUS. AMAZING. WHY HAVEN'T YOU READ THIS YET?' and leave it at that. Because not only does this relieve you of the responsibility of casting about for appropriate words to serenade Woolf but also because you know no review in the world does justice to the sheer magic that she is capable of creating with words.
But since I have a thing for self-flagellation(not really), I wish to undertake preci
Jun 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Vita Sackville-West's son may have called Orlando “the longest and most charming love-letter in literature”, but let me tell you: if someone wrote me a love letter like this, their ass would be getting dumped shortly thereafter.

This book was like the song that wouldn't end- it just goes on and on (yet it isn't particularly lengthy) without saying very much of interest. Despite the fact that reading it was a serious chore, for whatever reason I couldn't just give up and toss it aside (much like
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recs
Published in 1928, toward the end of the most productive stage of Woolf's career as a writer, Orlando doubles as national history and romance: the playful and ironic novel famously centers on the transformation of its protagonist's gender, near the start of the 18th century, but most of the story deals with Orlando's different loves and England's changing social norms over the course of three centuries. The gender change and kaleidoscopic setting afford Woolf the chance to examine themes especia ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
What's the connection between Virginia Woolf and the Russian mafia? Easy - in 1991 Sally Potter decided to film Orlando, one of the loveliest, most ravishing novels in the English language. Somewheres in the middle of the story there, you have a truly extraordinary sequence about the remarkable Frost Fair of 1654, which was when the River Thames itself froze over and they erected a fair with stalls and games and rides and greased pigs and whatnot on it, a carnival of the utmost brilliancy right ...more
I absolutely adored this book. The style is definitely different from the other Woolf books I've read so far. What stood out for me was the beautiful use of the language, maybe more than the story. The novel had an almost fairytale-like feel to it, and I was definitely enchanted from the start.

I don't think the following is a spoiler as it is included in the book's blurb : this book is about a 16 year old boy, Orlando, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who one day wakes up to find that he has be
Mark André (semi hiatus)
My first Woolf novel. Inventive. Entertaining. Page-turner.
Though the plot stagnates in the final two chapters.
So what gender issues does the author present?
Men don't take female thinking seriously.
Marriage, who needs it. Pregnancy, who needs it.
Men, after sex, roll-off, light a cigarette, and turn on the game. Who needs it.
I finished this book about a week ago, and have been trying ever since to figure out how I'm supposed to review it. I honestly can't think of anything to say except this:

Every single emotion I've ever felt and every thought I've ever had, had already been felt and thought and written down by Virginia Woolf decades before I was even born. There is not a single concept or feeling in any of her books that isn't already intimately familiar to me. Reading her books is like having someone look into my
I was careful not to take this reading to the beach. That would have been entirely inappropriate. So instead, I saved Orlando for the start of the school year, a little more attentive for my first Virginia Woolf. But I had to have a bit sloppy at the end because I had the impression of reading a whole exercise in an impressive and original style, but I could not give it the concentration it deserved.
I drew to the back cover. This writer, who lives centuries, dies to come back to life as a woman
I like nothing better than when two books I happen to be reading overlap, even if briefly, so I was really pleased when Virginia Woolf’s fictional character, Orlando, suddenly mentioned Jonathan Swift, whose Journal to Stella I’ve been reading recently. Orlando, who in some sections of Woolf’s book uses the title Lady Orlando, has just been receiving a visit from Joseph Addison, Swift’s one-time bosom pal and fellow political essayist, when there's an interruption:
..and when Mr Addison has had
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and engaging reread.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk

For if it is rash to walk into a lion’s den unarmed, rash to navigate the Atlantic in a rowing boat, rash to stand on one foot on top of St. Paul’s, it is still more rash to go home alone with a poet. A poet is Atlantic and lion in one. While one drowns us the other gnaws us. If we survive the teeth, we succumb to the waves. A man who can destroy illusions is both beast and flood. Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth. Roll up that tender air and the plant dies, the colour fa
Giorgia Reads
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Rtc - my mind is mush atm
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Orlando was much funnier than I expected, and much less fantastical. Since I was familiar with the plot before beginning the book and had heard much literary criticism concerning the famed transformation, I was expecting the focus to be on gender issues. While these were certainly present, Woolf presents them fairly gently. Orlando is so strongly an individual that his/her sex hardly matters from a readerly standpoint. Indeed, I found it harder to believe that he was a successful ambassador than ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, british, fiction
"The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity."
- Virginia Woolf, Orlando


A beautiful, poetic look at gender, sex, poetry, time, love, living, etc. This gender-studies masterpiece was inspired by Woolf's reltionship with Vita Sackville-West. According to Vita's son: "The effect of Vita on Virginia is all contained in Orlando, the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of the centuries
E. G.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Introduction, by Peter Ackroyd
Introduction, by Margaret Reynolds
List of Illustrations
Preface, by Virginia Woolf


Rakhi Dalal
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, Woolf has stunned me with the magic of her prose here. Telling this isn’t important, neither that it is a biography; that it informs us about the affair of Vita and Violet. I guess much has been said about that. When I started reading, I had no idea about the references to people, places, their characters or their lives as are known to be mentioned in this work. In fact, as the novel proceeded from Orlando’s gender change for the first time, I had a notion about the invisible layer of ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read and not enjoyed or appreciated Virginia Woolf’s ‘To The Lighthouse’ (1927) it was with expectation, due to it’s literary reputation, although some trepidation, due to my experience with ‘Lighthouse’, that I approached the markedly different ‘Orlando – A Biography’ (1928).

The premise of the life of Orlando was always going to be a highly promising one – beginning as it does with Orlando as a boy at the time of Queen Elizabeth I and following his adventures across different lands, and
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Old Books, New Re...: * June 2022 BOTM - Orlando 6 54 Jun 28, 2022 07:40AM  
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length e

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