48. Orlando.

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By Chris Piuma and Chris @ Megaphonic.fm. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The chief charges against her were (1) that she was dead, and therefore could not hold any property whatsoever; (2) that she was a woman, which amounts to much the same thing; (3) that she was an English Duke who had married one Rosina Pepita, a dancer; and had had by her three sons, which sons now declaring that their father was deceased, claimed that all his property descended to them. […] Thus it was in a highly ambiguous condition, uncertain whether she was alive or dead, man or woman, Duke or nonentity, that she posted down to her country seat, where, pending the legal judgment, she had the Law’s permission to reside in a state of incognito or incognita as the case might turn out to be.

Virginia Woolf’s genre-bending Orlando: A Biography is not quite a novel, and not quite a biography of Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West. But it is a playful text, thick with possibilities. The book covers the long life of Orlando, a young man born in the sixteenth century, who somehow continues living up to the present day (that is, the 1920s)—and who unexpectedly transforms into a woman halfway through her life. Suzanne and Chris explore how the book’s playfulness both interferes with and enables its depictions of wreaking havoc on perceived gender binaries and its vital considerations of the relationship between sex, gender, history, and identity.

Show Notes.

Virginia Woolf: Orlando. [Bookshop.].

Sally Porter’s film adaptation of Orlando [trailer].

Other books by Virginia Woolf: To The Lighthouse. Mrs. Dalloway. The Common Reader. The Second Common Reader.

Our episode on To The Lighthouse.

Our episode on the Metaphysical poets.

Thomas Browne, author of Religio Medici and other works.

Radclyffe Hall: The Well of Loneliness.

Mark Doty: What Is the Grass? Walt Whitman in My Life.

Prick Up Your Ears [trailer].

Chris talks about Prick Up Your Ears for another podcast.

Joe Orton: Complete Plays. The Orton Diaries.

Next: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: Watchmen. [Bookshop.]

Support The Spouter-Inn (and all of the Megaphonic network) on Patreon. Thanks!

75 episodes