Virginia Woolf described “Orlando” as “an escapade, half-laughing, half-serious; with great splashes of exaggeration, ” but many think Woolf’s escapade is one of the most wickedly imaginative and sharply observed considerations of androgyny that this century will see.
Orlando is, in fact, a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, he is a young male aristocrat at the beginning of the story – and a modern woman four centuries later. The hero-heroine sees monarchs come and go, hobnobs with great literary figures, and slips in and out of each new fashion. Woolf presents a brilliant pageant of history, society, and literature as well as subtle appreciation of the interplay between endings and beginnings, past and present, male and female.