Today I would like to enthuse you for one of my favorite books „Orlando“ – the longest love letter and the history of literature.
It’s difficult to imagine who forward thinking Virginia Woolf was to come up with this gender-society-time-bending story of the young Duke Orlando who is Vita Sackville-Wests alter ego. Orlando tells the high spirited adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries.
„But listen; suppose Orlando turns out to be Vita and it’s all about the lusts of your flesh and the lure of your mind … Shall you mind?“
Vita didn’t mind, she was in fact thrilled and who can blame her? Orlando is a story about the life and development of a human being striving to become liberated from the constructs of gender and social norms of any kind.
If you live in Munich or plan a visit you should find the time to pop into the Literaturhaus where they are currently showing an exhibition with photos inspired by Sally Potter’s movie „Orlando“ and which was curated by Tilda Swinton.
Virginia Woolf described the writing of this book as taking holidays from being a writer and it is possibly her most lighthearted book.
Check out Vita’s love letters to Virginia in „Geliebtes Wesen„, Virginia Woolf’s famous feminist icon „A room of one’s own“ and the biographies of Vita and Virginia.