View Poll Results: Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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Thread: Orlando by Virginia Woolf

  1. #1
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Orlando by Virginia Woolf

    Orlando by Virginia Woolf.


    How long does it take to write something good? What are the experiences and perspectives you need to bring to bear in order to create something worthwhile? Then, what is the criteria for success? Is it public acclaim? Money earned? Or simply something you're happy with. Discovering and analysing these questions is the journey Virginia Woolf's eponymous character Orlando is on.

    Now for some spoilers. Woolf gives her character an unusual life to live, learn and taste, at the age of thirty (having lived a hundred years or so) he turns into a she, and continues as a woman for the next three hundred years. This gives her time to perfect the poem “The Oak Tree” ( which she carries around next to her bosom). It also gives Woolf the opportunity to examine and weave gender issues and attitudes throughout history into the story.

    She is of course an incredible writer, every page has something extraordinary on it, either a nugget of philosophy, a thought or an observation perfectly expressed. Here is an example from a completely random page;-

    Orlando was unaccountably disappointed. She had thought of literature all these years ( her seclusion, her rank, her sex must be her excuse) as something wild as the wind, hot as fire, swift as lightning; something errant, incalculable, abrupt, and behold, literature was an elderly gentleman in a grey suit talking about a duchess. The violence of her disillusionment was such that some hook or button fastening the upper part of her dress burst open, and out upon the table fell 'The Oak Tree', a poem.

    The tone of the book I would describe as zany and light-hearted, which was a surprise to me because of her reputation as a literary heavyweight. Her voice is ever present – as the narrator and as the person set with the task of writing the biography of Orlando (possibly Woolf herself) – scattering funny asides and observations, complaining and apologizing to the reader when Orlando is inactive or boring, and so reminding you you are reading a story created by a clever, witty writer sat in her study working hard.

    All in all this book was a pleasant surprise, very readable, quirky and entertaining but with plenty depth if you want to explore.
    ay up

  2. #2
    Good review. I've not read Orlando, it sounds interesting, but then again the plot is hardly the point with Woolf of course. Yes I am a fan of Woolf when I am in the mood.

  3. #3
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Unusually for Virginia, I found it was the plot that kept me entertained, things actually happen! Think Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy crossed with To The Lighthouse, Gormanghast and Time Bandits - does that help?
    Last edited by prendrelemick; 11-26-2012 at 05:04 AM.
    ay up

  4. #4
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Orlando. Why do I keep thinking it is a masculine name.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

  5. #5
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
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    I think that might be a book I would like to read. I've only read her essay "The Death of the Moth" which I loved(did you know, by the way, that Annie Dillard has an essay "Death of a Moth, also transcendentally beautiful?). This might be a good entry to Woolf's work. I'd like to read "To the Lighthouse" someday, but am intimidated by the idea.
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai
    "Some people say I done alright for a girl." Melanie Safka

  6. #6
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Thanks qimi, I'm reading her essays at the moment. I can't tell you how impressed I am with her scholarship and her artistic expression. I read To the Lighthouse some years ago but don't remember being this impressed.

    Would you believe it I am also a fan of Annie Dillard - after reading The Maytrees (that's two hits in one post you've made there.) I think they have similarites, they have a similar agenda of introspective exploration. You feel they don't quite know where they are going to end up when they set out
    Last edited by prendrelemick; 12-01-2012 at 05:25 PM.
    ay up

  7. #7
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    I was in a supermarket today trying to decide between Quorn escalopes or burgers when my train of thought was distracted by a foot-stamping display of petulance by a child dressed in a dinosaur suit. This was followed by the mother saying: "No but I don't want the cranberry sauce Orlando. Put it back on the shelf." Orlando immediately let out a scream of rage and tried to prevent it being taken from him. For a brief moment, I had a burning desire to send Orlando to join the rest of his extinct species.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    I was in a supermarket today trying to decide between Quorn escalopes or burgers when my train of thought was distracted by a foot-stamping display of petulance by a child dressed in a dinosaur suit. This was followed by the mother saying: "No but I don't want the cranberry sauce Orlando. Put it back on the shelf." Orlando immediately let out a scream of rage and tried to prevent it being taken from him. For a brief moment, I had a burning desire to send Orlando to join the rest of his extinct species.
    That's the sort of thing you get when you stand in the frozen food aisle.

  9. #9
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    That's the sort of thing you get when you stand in the frozen food aisle.
    Yes, quite.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that children tend to behave better -regardless of their upbringing- in organic food aisles.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post
    Yes, quite.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that children tend to behave better -regardless of their upbringing- in organic food aisles.
    Absolutely. When I am avoiding parents and students in one of my local supermarkets I always go to the fresh fish aisle.

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