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Full Title Orlando: a Biography
Author Virginia Woolf
Type of Work Novel
Genre Fictional biography
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.
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
Ace your assignments with our guide to Orlando!