Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
April 2, 2005

Orlando ... a new kind of story telling style?

A sampling of initial thoughts from the forum

I feel as though I'm finding it difficult to grasp this novel in a deeper sense, while it's quite an easy read ... For some reason, this book while intriguing is also confusing ... Nada

I can't quite say I fully understood this book. I can't even say I understood what was most important about it---its message, as Nada put it ... Brittany

I've now read the first couple chapters of Orlando, and I am not exactly sure what I make of it. It reads almost like a fairy tale ... Maureen

I guess Woolf intended for Orlando's transformation to be ambiguous, although after reading Middlesex and HB, I want to know the details! ... Becky

a representation of her theory of the androgynous mind necessary for the writer ... Rebekah

From the perspective of someone who wants to be a writer, Woolf has a great way of catching the formulation of a story both in the action of the novel (with Orlando) and with Orlando's own creations ... Lauren

She even comments on her own writing style p. 78 "...who has so much to answer for besides the perhaps unwieldy length of this sentence..." I have to say, I read that sentence over and over because I was so impressed that she had the skill to pull off such a lengthy sentence ... Ghazal

I find Woolf's storytelling style lush and enchanting ... at the same time I do feel there is some essential truth being sought or explored, and that Woolf does not take this task lightly ... Kate

I don't think of this book as the story of a hermaphrodite, I think I read Orlando as a woman who went through a tomboy phase. Not even. She seemed to have an expression of gender that was read as male as a boy, and she was just a boy who grew up to be a woman. Maybe that's just as likely as anything else, as a boy growing into a man or a girl growing into a woman. In literature, at least, why not? ... Jessica

the mind I like to think has more freedom than the body to be whatever it wants or is thanks to the neocortex and its ability to create new stories ... Liz

PG associations (metonyms?)

Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898, Alice in Wonderland

They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank--the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable.

The first question of course was, how to get dry again: they had a consultation about this, and after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to find herself talking familiarly with them, as if she had known them all her life. Indeed, she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who at last turned sulky, and would only say, `I am older than you, and must know better'; and this Alice would not allow without knowing how old it was, and, as the Lory positively refused to tell its age, there was no more to be said.

Samuel Beckett, 1906-1989, Lessness

Figment light never was but grey air timeless no sound. Blank planes touch close sheer white all gone from mind. Little body ash grey locked rigid heart beating face to endlessness. On him will rain again as in the blessed days of blue the passing cloud. Four square true refuge long last four walls over backwards no sound.

The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don't want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement ... Harold Pinter

Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941

Is dependent on/about words, but without the intention to make verbal meaning? (story without words, words beyond story?)

On to ... help? an additional story?

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