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Woolf, Virginia

Entry updated 15 April 2024. Tagged: Author.

(1882-1941) UK critic and author, a central figure of the Bloomsbury Group of English writers, famous for novels sensitively structured around the flow of inner consciousness, the best known of these being perhaps To the Lighthouse (1927). Of sf interest is Orlando: A Biography (1928), filmed as Orlando (1992), whose androgynous hero/heroine (see Temporal Adventuress), a portrait of Vita Sackville-West, survives from Elizabethan to modern times, switching back and forth from era to era via Timeslip, and changing Sex more than once (see Gender; Transgender SF); the character of Orlando has become a literary Icon, a fantasticated Feminist vision of the nature of England itself. The novel has been adapted into several media on more than one occasion, including the film Orlando (1992) directed by Sally Potter (see Cinema); the most recent Theatrical adaptation is Orlando (performed 2022; 2022 ) adapted by Neil Bartlett. Though it is not literally fantastic, a proleptic dread suffuses her last novel, Between the Acts (1941), built around a Satirical pageant given at a doomed country house as World War Two is about to terminate the theatre of civilized life in a "night that dwellers in caves had watched from some high place among rocks" (see Slingshot Ending).

Later tales whose protagonists similarly manifest themselves through various eras – like Peter Vansittart's The Story Teller (1968) – were almost certainly inspired, directly or indirectly, by Woolf's model. Reincarnated in ghost-form, Woolf serves as the protagonist of Maggie Gee's Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014). Flush: The Biography of a Dog (1933) is told through the eyes of the spaniel Flush (see Dogs), owned by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861). [JC]

Adeline Virginia Woolf

born London: 25 January 1882

died Rodmell, near Lewes, East Sussex: 28 March 1941

works (highly selected)


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