Revolutionized Biography Of The Virginia Woolf English Literature Essay

Although the writer herself called the novel a life it is non rather true. Bing a modernist, Woolf broke the conventions of composing fiction and non-fiction in an ebullient manner, parodying a series of genres including the traditional Victorian lifes that emphasize facts and truth in their topics ‘ lives. Conrad Aiken says: “ There is therefore an of import component of ‘spoof ‘ in Orlando: Mrs Woolf seemingly wants us to cognize that she does non herself take the thing with the least seriousness-that she is drawing legs, maintaining her lingua in her cheek, and winking, now and so, a rather shameless and tremendous blink of an eye. ”[ 3 ]

Earlier I stated that though its rubric suggests a life, it is in fact a semi-biographical novel set in England ( except for – if we consider that the fresh Begins during the reign of Elizabeth I and ends in 1928 – a reasonably short period which the supporter spends as an embassador in Constantinople and so as a adult female with the Gypsy kin ) . It is capturing even if one does non cognize about the background but I am convinced that it can be – to some extent – read as a Roman a clef ; in other words as cabal, that is, a novel depicting existent life behind a frontage of fiction. As Woolf herself said: aˆzEvery secret of a author ‘s psyche, every experience of his life, every quality of his head is written big in his plants ” therefore it is non merely an inspiring literary work but likely the writer ‘s most accessible piece of art as good. Consequently, it is of great importance to me to uncover the connexion between her personal life and the novel. I have another ground to delve deep into Woolf ‘s life – for which the reader may hold to pardon me – : sheer wonder of the life of such an extraordinary head.

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Orlando was half based on the life of Vita Sackville-West[ 4 ], a fellow English writer and poet with whom Woolf met through the Bloomsbury Group[ 5 ]. As a victory to this matter and the influence Sackville-West had on her life, Woolf presented her with the novel. As Sackville-West ‘s boy, Nigel Nicolson said, Orlando is “ the longest and most charming love-letter in literature ” . In the novel Vita appears as Orlando ( she was switching between of all time so many functions merely like the supporter ) , ‘The Oak Tree ‘ a verse form written by Orlando mentioning to Sackville-West ‘s award-winning verse form ‘The Land ‘ ; and Orlando ‘s matter with Princess Sacha stand foring the relationship with Violet Trefusis[ 6 ]which had the most permanent consequence on Sackville-West ‘s personal life.

My thought is that Orlando is a revolutional experiment non merely in a literary but in a nonliteral manner as good, that is, to pick a human being and allow this entity experience life entirely, as it is, to happen its significance but without the “ side effects ” of one ‘s gender or the societal conventions of one ‘s coevals by emancipating it from the restraints of clip and sex.

By these alleged side effects I mean that throughout history ( and even presents ) work forces and adult females were treated in a really different manner therefore it would n’t be half as interesting as it is if Orlando ‘s sex would non alter. When exchanging from male to female Orlando experienced both manfully and womanly virtuousnesss, in other words: to see things from two really different angles, two angles that are both present in everyone, proposing that male and female functions are non biological, but social. Besides, through his life we can follow how the significances of maleness and muliebrity had altered. Woolf said: aˆzIf we compare the image of Orlando as a adult male with that of Orlando as a adult female we shall see that though both are undoubtably one and the same individual, there are certain alterations. The adult male has his manus free to prehend his blade, the adult female must utilize hers to maintain the satins from stealing from her shoulders. The adult male looks the universe full in the face, as if it were made for his utilizations and fashioned to his liking. The adult female takes a askance glimpse at it, full of nuance, even of intuition. ”

She makes another statement on the subject: aˆzDifferent though the sexes are, they inter-mix. In every human being a hesitation from one sex to the other takes topographic point, and frequently it is merely the apparels that keep the male or female similitude, while underneath the sex is the really opposite of what it is above. ”

There are two perfect illustrations in the novel of the quotation mark above: one is the first line in which Woolf writes aˆzHe – for there could be no uncertainty of his sex, though the manner of the clip did something to mask it – was in the act of sliting at the caput of a Moor which swung from the balks. “ ; and besides when returning to England, Orlando learns that Archduchess Harriet is truly a adult male: Archduke Harry. Although the alteration is different from Orlando ‘s as the Archduke had ever been a adult male, still he deceived Orlando with his visual aspect, that is, merely the apparels kept the female similitude and underneath the sex was rather the antonym. Let me now portion a personal experience on the subject: in 1992 there was a film shooting based on the novel, directed by Sally Potter and it starred creative persons such as Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane and Charlotte Valandrey. Queen Elizabeth ‘s function was played by Quentin Crisp of whom I ‘d ne’er heard until so. At first I found the name Quentin a spot unusual for a adult female but I watched the film several times and I was content with that she truly did look like an old adult female. A few hebdomads subsequently it occurred to me that I know nil about her and when I looked her up on Wikipedia to my atrocious surprise I realized that she is really a adult male.

By maintaining the promise he made as a immature adult male and life for over 300 old ages Orlando experiences the conventions – some as a adult male, some as a adult female – of each century and of several civilizations and so he – or she for that affair – is non under the influence of merely one period of history but as he is introduced into each new age, he tries to suit into his new environment which after some clip becomes oppressive to him, turning tired of altering himself to suit those around him and eventually, when – as a female in the 20th century – ranges adulthood by going an independent head, she resists conforming to society. As Orlando himself says: aˆzSome we know to be dead even though they walk among us ; some are non yet born though they go through all the signifiers of life ; other are 100s of old ages old though they call themselves 36. ”

In my sentiment the fantastic thing about this literary experiment is that, so to talk, Woolf gave Orlando a opportunity “ to look life in the face, ever, to look life in the face, and to cognize it for what it is… at last, to love it for what it is, and so to set it off ” and non many writers grant their supporters such gift. Although everything is traveling through indispensable alterations there is something that remains a solid point throughout the novel: Orlando ‘s fondness for poesy and his ain verse form, The Oak Tree which is a record of his internal life and ripening – as Orlando ‘s life is the record of the ripening of England.


Woolf, V. ( 1992 ) . Orlando, Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-953659-7

Cuddon, J.A. ( 1999 ) . Dictionary of Literary Footings & A ; Theory, Penguin Books ISBN-13: 978-0-140-51363-9

James, William ( 1890 ) . The Principles of Psychology. Retrieved January 6, 2010 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Lavender, C. ( 1997 ) . Virginia Woolf, Orlando ( 1928 ) : On Gender Bending. Retrieved November 27, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Tetterton, K. ( 1995 ) . Virginia Woolf ‘s Orlando: The Book as Critic. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Virginia Woolf quotes. Retrieved January 5, 2010 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

What precisely is Modernism in literature? in The AnswerBank: art & A ; literature. Retrieved January 6, 2010 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

SparkNotes: Orlando. Retrieved November 17, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

goodreads: Quotation marks by Virginia Woolf. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia: Virginia Woolf. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia: Vita Sackville-West. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from

hypertext transfer protocol: //

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia: Bloomsbury Group. Retrieved January 6, 2010 from hypertext transfer protocol: //


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