Published By: Ahvana Paul

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando- Why it is truly a classic!

One of the most popular novels of all time has probably been Virginia Woolf’s classic, Orlando. Though admittedly old-world, it is also a very foundational book in many senses. It is indeed a sensational book, that has captured people’s imagination in the past and continues to do so! If you are someone looking for a good book suggestion, then this is a book you can try! Here are some reasons you should check it out!

A Major Break-through Novel!  

One of the primary reasons why "Orlando" as a novel stands out, is owing to its groundbreaking narrative structure. Woolf challenges traditional storytelling conventions by creating a protagonist who spans four centuries without ageing. Orlando begins as a young nobleman in Elizabethan England and undergoes a mysterious transformation into a woman. This narrative approach allows Woolf to explore the fluidity of identity and the impact of time on an individual's experiences and perspectives. The non-linear structure and the blending of historical and fantastical elements contribute to the novel's unique and timeless quality, making it stand out.

Contains beautifully written prose-

Woolf's prose style in "Orlando" also contributes to its classic status. Known for her modernist approach, Woolf employs lyrical and poetic language that enhances the novel's emotional depth and intellectual richness. The writing style not only captures the essence of each historical period but also reflects the inner workings of Orlando's mind as they grapple with the challenges of self-discovery and societal expectations. Moreover, though initially tedious for the reader, it is a promise give it some time and you will begin to appreciate it! Its heavily descriptive prose gives the novel a certain uniqueness, and also a very abstract, yet deep idea of what is happening! Its writing style combines the psychological with the physical, and therefore is legendary!

A very important commentary on gender

The exploration of gender identity is another pivotal aspect that qualifies "Orlando" as a classic. In a time when discussions about gender roles were limited, Woolf boldly tackles the subject by presenting a character who navigates the complexities of gender with unprecedented fluidity. Orlando's transformation from male to female challenges societal norms and provides a thought-provoking commentary on the constructs of gender. Woolf's portrayal of Orlando's evolving identity is nuanced and ahead of its time, paving the way for future discussions on gender and identity in literature.

A deep understanding of human emotions, and culture at different points in time

Thematically, "Orlando" explores universal concepts that resonate across time and cultures. The novel delves into the human experience, touching on themes of love, loss, self-discovery, and the passage of time. Woolf's exploration of these enduring themes allows readers to connect with the novel on a profound level, ensuring its relevance across generations. The novel's ability to transcend the specific historical context in which it was written contributes to its enduring appeal and classic status.

Written by a woman

One more reason why you should consider reading Orlando, simply is that it is written by a woman. Though there were some famous women authors at the time, these were few. To write not only beautifully but so strongly about gender makes this book a revolutionary classic!

So are you convinced yet? When are you planning on reading it?