Discontinuing Orlando

“A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.” I defer to Samuel Johnson and after fifty-four pages lay Orlando aside. I declare a probable permanent holiday from Virginia Woolf’s ‘writer’s holiday.’
Coming to Orlando after the intensifying delights of Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse was not for me. Historical fiction is rarely a genre I appreciate; when written as magical parody it would take a work of brilliance to maintain my attention. Orlando despite some obvious merits is not that work of brilliance.
Before replacing Orlando in the now-expanded Woolf section on my book shelves, I skipped ahead and dipped into Chapter VI. This is more like it, the Modernist qualities, the experimental fiction that I have come to appreciate from Virginia Woolf. Perhaps when Woolf’s other work has faded a little I will pick up Orlando again. Before then I look forwarding to my reading of The Waves.

8 thoughts on “Discontinuing Orlando

  1. >Dear Anthony,I'm hardly surprised. I don't know if you're following another list–but I would suggest either Jacob's Room or The Waves. Orlando is a trifle, a bon-bon, a lark and a spree, akin to, but more serious than her biography of the Brownings's dog _Flush_. I cannot imagine how one, encountering _To the Lighthouse_ could do other with _Orlando_. A perfectly fine book in its own right, but just not in the main line of Woolf's best writing and thought.shalom,Steven

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  2. >Steven. . . trifle, a bon-bon, a lark and a spree . . .A perfect description and precisely what Woolf intended. I hope to return to it in years to come in different frame of mind.

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  3. >Frances – It just didn't work for me this time around but I am looking forward to reading through everyone's comments and posts on Friday.I'll be with you for The Waves.

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  4. >I've kind of promised Frances and Claire that I would stop my "Orlando-bashing," Anthony, but you made the right call to stop reading it in my opinion. In retrospect, I should have followed your lead. I very much enjoyed Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, though, so I will get over my grudge with Woolf over Orlando eventually. Cheers!

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  5. >Richard – Coming to Orlando after the richness of To the Lighthouse didn't work for me but one day I might try it again. Might.Woolf was an revelation for me. I did not anticipate how much I would enjoy the three novels that I stuck with.

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