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Download Orlando (World's Classics) epub

by Rachel Bowlby,Virginia Woolf

Download Orlando (World's Classics) epub
ISBN: 0192818252
ISBN13: 978-0192818256
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Rachel Bowlby,Virginia Woolf
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (January 1, 1992)
Pages: 400 pages
ePUB size: 1682 kb
FB2 size: 1514 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 609
Other Formats: lrf rtf mbr txt

I'll often buy a premium kindle edition of a book that I could otherwise get for a much cheaper price, to get a well-designed reading experience, paragraphs that look like paragraphs, and perhaps some useful scholarship in introductions and annotations. Generally I'm trying to avoid the kind of type layout where there is a blank line between non-indented paragraphs, which is very common in free editions. Hack-job introductions are also a turn-off.
I bought the Harcourt/Harvest kindle edtion of "Orlando", edited by Mark Hussey, about three years ago, and I'm reading it now. It has way too many typos. There are dozens of times when "tl" becomes "d", so "title" becomes "tide", etc. Disappointing in what should be a quality edition. OCR with shoddy QC, perhaps.
Others have complained that the footnotes are not tied to the text. That's true, but it doesn't bother me much, since I just finished reading the Penguin Deluxe "Les Miserables", which did the same thing in a physical (non-kindle) book. Avoiding the intrusiveness of a bunch of superscripted endnotes: to me, that's a reasonable design choice.
Overall, this kindle edition of "Orlando" isn't really worth paying extra for, so I would recommend rummaging around among the cheaper editions before buying this one.
The most brilliant portrayal of a transsexual experience in modern history. Even when Magnus Hirshfield was publishing his treatise on the transsexual phenomenah, Woolf relates an account of the intracies of gender identity undiscovered by social scientists and biologists. Published in 1928, Orlando has been billed as one of Woolf's best imaginative works however, such criticism was never seen in the light of reality but a surreal depiction of the writer's portrayal of a young man who wakes up one day as a woman, as if in the ordinary course of his life. As Woolf suggests of her character's reaction to the change "Orlando herself showed no surprise at it.(Woolf, 139. Modern transsexuals have explained only recently in their writings, their internal thinking stays the same, only the external body appears different to others. ALthough Woolf's work set the precedent for post modernist literature, infusing elements of fiction into biography, she weaves the internal stuggle of her former lover, Vita Sachville-West's life, together with her own perceptions of gender and sexuality, with an historical account of a young transsexual aristocrat's adventures over the span of centuries. Unlike a biography of her time, the action is secondary to the internal story. This is more of an account of how her lover (and as suggested by this author--Woolf herself), struggles with her own gender identity; a thinking so similar to transsexualism and conflict with a Eurocentric binary gender system. Here, the biographer (narrator) describes: the reaction to Orlando's change of sex, as it may appear in a scientific journal today;"[b]ut in every other respect, Orlando remained preceisely as he had been. The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity. (Woolf, 138). Woolf captures the failure of the general public to grasp the concept of gender reassignment when she has the narrator express dismay in the lack of Orlando's reaction where "Orlando was a man till the age of thirty (Similar to our understanding of modern transsexuals who start their transition at middle age) when he became a woman and has remained ever since." (Woolf, 139)'. Woolfe's use of metaphor and foreshadowing is uncanny. The pyrotechnic displays prior to the deep sleep of Orlando depicts change. She puts Orlando on a ship called the 'Enamoured Lady,' and she is suddenly the object of the Captain's and other males' attention and realizes that the sexual fantacies of men creates a dillemma for her as a woman, where she must sheild her own desires as a woman. Woolfe precisely proclaims that '(Orlando) remembered how, as a young man, she had insisted that women must be obedient, chaste, scented, and exquisitely apparelled... (and) "Now I shall have to pay in my own person for those desires ... for women are not (judging by my own short experience of the sex) obedient, chaste, scented, and exquisitely apparelled by nature." Woolfe does not stop at her proclivity to undress Orlando's gender identity but lays bare the confusion of sexual preference. Although a woman herself, Orlando proclaims that "it was still a woman she loved; and if the consciousness of being of the same sex had any effect at all, it was to quicken and deepen those feeling which she had had as a man." (Woolf, 161). Where she gives in to sensual thoughts of a man, the Captain on whose arm she trembles and remembers that she had once been a Duke and Ambassador, "that she, who had been lapped like a lily in folds of paduasoy, had hacked heads off, and lain with loose women amoung treasure sacks in holds of pirate ships..." Woolfe reveals a metaphoric character, the Archduchess Harriet Griselda of Finster-Aarhorn and Scan-op-Boom in the Roumanian territory, seen in chapter three as a woman, and in a later chapter is shown to be a man, the Archduke, who suddently professes his love for her. Woolfe's ability to produce a character like the Arduke Harry who today would fall somewhere on the transgendered scale, is amazing, for a woman in her time. Yet through all its carefully crafted language and delightful parody, the gender message she professes is much the same today as it may have been then, that "Clothes ... change our view of the world and the world's view of us...." Orlando challenges the Eurocentric binary gender construct of the world she lived in. Here, the writer's own indictment of the unrealistic bounds placed on women is evident and transposed by her narrator and Orlando's own expository reflections, "In every human bing a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only that clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above." (Woolfe, 189). Here, Woolfe appears to challenge more than the unfairness and imperfections of gender traditions on women. She uses comparaisons of the formalities of being a nieteenth century man and woman to make her point. Additionally, the most introspective journey in Orlando, is of a person who is not questioning her own gender identity, but defining it. Woolfe appears to depict, not confusion, but knowledge by the transsexual main character of her own identity, and chosing to adapt to it by changing the way the world looks at her, by changing sex. It is the world that suffers the confusion. Woolfe makes generalities about other persons hiding their sex in the clothing of the other gender, suggesting there are numerous persons in her era that suffer from some sort of gender dysphoria. After reading Orlando, and comparing it with the writings of transsexual, transgendered and social scientists,Woolfe describes so clearly the struggle a transgendered person experiences, that critics should look more closely at this writing. Woolfe's narrator states: "Of complications and confusions which thus result every one has had experience;" and as though afraid to delve deeper, she leaves this general question to "note only the odd effect it had in the particualr case of Orlando herself." As Woolfe so eloquently portrays the posttranssexual eptiome, "having now worn skirts for a considerable time, a certain change was visible in Orlando, which is to be found even in her face..." and where the narrator wonders, had both the man and woman of Orlando's time.worn the same clothes (in other words, different sexes but same gender) it is possible their outlook may have been the same too." (Woolfe, 188). Yet the most profound statement made in the text reveals Woolfe's secret exposition: "The difference between the sexes is, happily, one of great profundity. Clothes are but a symbol of soemthing hid deep beneath. It was a change in Orlando herself that dicated her choise of a woman's dress and of a woman's sex. And perhaps in this she was only exprssing rather than mor openly than usual---openness indeed was the soul of her nature---(Woolf, 189). Thus, Woolfe explains that Orlando chose to change his sex because he was in fact a woman, a woman's soul in a man's body. This book is highly recommended to all who are ever wonder what it is like for a transsexual to alter his sex, and begin living as the gender opposite of his or her sex. And for those who never wondered, it is a great read, full of insightful commentary on the possibility of a gender continuum and expanding the boundaries of a binary gender system of a phallocentric society.
I admit I went into this novel with some pre conceived thoughts about Orlando. The synopsis on various sites really doesn't do the book justice. I'd read To The Lighthouse prior to this novel and I admit I was somewhat prejudiced.

To say I was surprised by Orlando is an understatment. The concept, the style and prose was for this reader an eye opener. Prose that I could fall into and savour.

I'm rating it highly because of it's uniqueness and it is a book that you can not be ambivalent about. To me that is what reading is all about.
The product description does not state the notes in this edition are END NOTES, not foot notes. The text does not indicate at all which terms/etc. are annotated. The notes are listed by page number at the end of the novel. Basically, you need to flip to the back of the book to see if there are any notes for each page. I found the notes themselves helpful but inconvenient to use.

The playwright Sarah Ruhl (two-time Pulitzer finalist, 2006 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship) recently released a stage adaptation of this novel. In her introductory notes, she recommends the Penguin Classics version annotated by Sandra M. Gilbert.