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Virginia Woolf: Orlando

A completely different novel from Woolf and, a tribute to Vita Sackville-West. It is a biography of a young man/woman (s/he changes sex during the course of the novel) who first appears as a beautiful young aristocrat during Elizabethan times. He later becomes a poet, aided by Shakespeare and mixes indiscriminately with Queen Elizabeth, a Russian princess, the Sultan of Turkey and various lowlifes. He heads off to Turkey, changes sex and time and returns to the eighteenth century before moving on to the later centuries. She marries a man (though he is as gender-challenged as she), writes her poetic masterpiece and heads off to the twentieth century. Not her best book. Frankly, I preferred the film.

Publishing history

First published in 1928 by Hogarth Press