full title · Orlando: a Biography
author · Virginia Woolf
type of work · Novel
genre · Fictional biography
language · English
time and place written · Woolf wrote Orlando from her home in London, 1927–1928, between To the Lighthouse and The Waves
date of first publication · October 11, 1928, the date given in the last line of the novel
publisher · Hogarth Press
narrator · Third-person, omniscient narrator; an unreliable "biographer" who changes style and tone to suit the changes of Orlando's life
climax · The climax occurs when Orlando finds herself in the present day, 1928, and she is forced to acknowledge her own nature as a multitude of selves and experiences within one person.
protagonist · Orlando
setting (time) · 1588 to 1928
setting (place) · Mostly in England (London and Kent), but 1660–1685 are spent on an excursion to Constantinople and the hills of Turkey
point of view · Third-person omniscient; the narrator or "biographer" knows what each of the characters are thinking and inserts her own explanations into the text
falling action · Orlando, having found love, now finds life in the present moment; standing by her oak tree, she looks over her manor and welcomes back her husband Shel.
tense · Immediate past, real-time narration
foreshadowing · Orlando's poem foreshadows that she will end up back at her oak tree; the appearance of Archduchess Harriet foreshadows that he will me a man; Orlando's troubles with the gypsies foreshadow that she will return to England.
tone · Detached, philosophic, and poetic; although she attempts to include dates and facts making the book a real 'biography,' the narrator's work ends up as poetry.
themes · Sex and gender, the differences between men and women; the quality of history; the 'spirit of the age;' time; interconnectedness; truth, fact, and poetry
motifs · Poetry, dates, clothing, sex changes
symbols · The oak tree, the clock, Orlando's manor house, clouds
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