Cooling the ardour of the Archduke

Cooling the ardour of the Archduke

A wonderful, quirky episode in Orlando: a bizarre game played for hours, days, weeks, by Orlando and the Archduke whose amorous attentions she is trying to rebuff.  They play the Fly Loo Game, which seems to involve trying slip dead flies unnoticed where live ones...
On growing up

On growing up

An interesting definition of growing up – losing your illusions.  But then humanly allowing the possibility that you will acquire new ones. ‘I am growing  up,’ she thought, taking her taper.  ‘I am losing my illusions, perhaps to acquire new...
Toads versus rapiers

Toads versus rapiers

Having roundly failed to deter the advances of an Archduke by brazenly cheating him out of tens of thousands of pounds, Orlando resorts to even baser means.  Her self-justification is a wonder, as if a rapier were a more noble way of dealing with an unwanted suitor...
Trick or miracle?

Trick or miracle?

I love the idea of trusting in Nature, but have to wonder whether it is capable of such apparently conscious agency in our lives, whether playing tricks or working miracles. If such agency is real, may it ever work miracles for you. ‘And then Nature, in whom she...
Dead or alive?

Dead or alive?

This marvelously stark encounter with a dark stranger proves to be Orlando’s first meeting with the man she will marry.  Her energetic statement is a reflection of having been pursued for a century or so with a sackload of court cases, many of which revolve...
Up and out at dawn

Up and out at dawn

Orlando, who at this stage in her 400 year life has only quite recently woken up to find herself transformed into a woman, has finally come back to her vast old family home.  Her staff, who accept her new gender without batting an eyelid, still detect signs in their...
Of life, lovers, spaniels and sympathy

Of life, lovers, spaniels and sympathy

Orlando’s four hundred year span seems to boil down to the search for Life, Love and Authorship.  Here she is learning that lovers aplenty may not be enough to provide either Life or Love (let alone Authorship). This is not the first time that it is to a dog she...
Of long and short time

Of long and short time

While I have seen many comments on the elasticity of experienced time, this is the first one connecting its length or shortness with whether the time is spent doing or thinking. I can’t immediately see the correlation, as it would surely depend on what it is you...
Sickle and circular

Sickle and circular

What a beautifully fresh alliteration for the usual ‘wax and wane’ of the moon. ‘He saw the moon sickle and then circular.’   Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, ed. with an introduction by Rachel Bowlby (Oxford: World’s...

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