Virginia Woolf: Orlando: A Biography

(2175 words)
  • Ian Blyth

Published in 1928, Orlando is a novel that “mimics” the apparatus of a conventional biography. In addition to the reference to “A Biography” on the title page, it has a preface, an index and eight illustrations. This mimicry caused problems with booksellers in the time leading up to publication: some shops refused to order more than half a dozen copies of the novel on the grounds that “biographies” did not sell. Woolf lamented in her diary that she was going to have to pay “a high price for the fun of calling it a biography”. Such worries, however, proved to be unfounded. Although the opinion of contemporary critics was mixed, the novel itself was a great success.

Woolf had a particular interest in the …

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Blyth, Ian. "Orlando: A Biography". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]

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