“Nothing is any longer one thing”: Transcending Ideology by Aligning the Self with Nature and Art in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando

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Juno Raine


Virginia Woolf's 1928 novel Orlando challenges the very validity of socially constructed ideologies by allowing its titular character to transcend not only the boundaries of physical sex, but also those of time and space. Thus, through the character of Orlando, Woolf explores the farcical nature of ideology by affording them a four-dimensional experience of their own life that exposes their own true nature at the same time as it establishes their connection to capital-N-Nature. Through a close reading of Orlando, interspersed with secondary scholarship and framed with reference to three of Woolf's other works—To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, and Three Guineas, this essay situates Orlando's four-dimensional phenomena within Woolf's larger personal philosophy as it is articulated across her body of work.