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review 2018-11-26 15:16
Biological Constructs: "Orlando" by Virginia Woolf
Orlando - Virgina Woolf

(Original Review, 2002-06-18)

I’m probably in a minority, but I find Woolf hugely overrated. A snob in the way that Wilde was a snob before her, sucking up to the wealthy and titled and, like Wilde, happy to be unfaithful if it ingratiated her with the gentry. People go on about ‘a room of one’s own’ but have they read the whole piece? She thought only a few superior personages should be allowed to write, and then only for a select audience.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


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review 2017-03-14 00:00
Orlando - Virgina Woolf Virginia Woolf cannot write badly but this book is entirely self indulgent and, despite some beautiful language, says very little of significance. In so far as it could be accused of having a plot, it does open up the possibility of interesting reflections, for example on the differences between men and women, or on the writing of poetry in different centuries. I encountered no such reflections that I would call interesting or illuminating and certainly none that I would wish to pick out for praise or debate. At most, it tells me that a member of the landed aristocracy could have the head of a donkey and the arse of a baboon and suffer no impediment to the quiet enjoyment of unearned wealth and status, with servile politicians rushing without question and without reward to protect their interests.

The best I could salvage from this tedious text was the discovery of an argument written in 1927 which could fit just as easily into the world of 2017: a curious piece of social history I think, not regarding the Elizabethan era which it claims to describe, but about attitudes in the late 1920s when this was written and their simlarity to attitudes today.

For it has to be remembered that crime and poverty had none of the attractions for the Elizabethans that they have for us. They had none of our modern shame of book leaning, none of our belief that to be born the son of a butcher is a blessing and to be unable to read a virtue; no fancy that what we call ‘life’ and ‘reality’ are somehow connected with ignorance and brutality nor, indeed any equivalent for these two words at all. It was not to seek ‘life’ that Orlando went among them not in quest of ‘reality’ that he left them.
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quote 2016-03-14 21:34
Und dann versuchte er zu sagen, dass das Gras grün ist und der Himel blau, und damit den strengen Geist der Poesie zu versöhnen, den er nach wie vor weiterhin verehrte, wenn auch mit großem Abstand.
"Der Himmel ist blau", sagte er, "das Gras ist grün."
Als er den Blick hob, sah er, dass im Gegenteil der Himmel aussieht wie Schleier, die zahllose Madonnen von ihren Haaren fallen lassen, und dass das Gras schwindet und sich verdunkelt wie ein Schwarm Mädchen, die vor den Umarmungn behaartr Satyrn aus verzauberten Hainen fliehen.
"Auf mein Wort", sagte er (denn er war in die schlechte Gewohnheit verfallen, laute Selbstgespräche zu führen), "ich wüsste nicht, wie eines wahrer sein sollte als das andere. Beide sind durch und durch falsch." Und er verzweifelte an der Aufgabe zu definieren, was Posie war und was Wahrheit, und tiefe Verzagtheit kam über ihn.
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quote 2016-03-14 21:33
So then he tried saying the grass is green and the sky is blue and so to propitiate the austere spirit of poetry whom still, though at a great distance, he could not help reverencing.
"The sky is blue," he said, "the grass is green."
Looking up, he saw that, on the contrary, the sky is like the veils which a thousand Madonnas have let fall from their hair; and the grass fleets and darkens like a flight of girls fleeing the embraces of hairy satyrs from enchanted woods. "Upon my word," he said (for he had fallen into the bad habit of speaking aloud), "I don't see that one's more true than another. Both are utterly false." And he despaired of being able to solve the problem of what poetry is and what truth is and fell into a deep dejection.
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text 2015-04-19 02:36
Howling at Tonight's New Moon w/ Some Virginia Woolf Recs
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Orlando - Virgina Woolf
A Writer's Diary - Virginia Woolf,Leonard Woolf

Feeling some feminist fiction in my future.

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