Podcast: An Introduction to Orlando (1928), by Virginia Woolf
I’ve uploaded an MP3 of an introductory lecture on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. I was invited to give the lecture by the producer of a theatrical adaptation of it at Keble College; as the audience was reckoned to consist mostly of school pupils (presumably sixth-form), the lecture tries not to assume much familiarity with Woolf or the novel. I begin with biographical background about Virginia and Vita, go on to narrate their relationship, and mention Logan Pearsall Smith as background to Nick Greene / Sir Nicholas Greene; I then talk about genre (biography and fantasy), discover I’ve left far too little time to talk about sexuality, and conclude by addressing Angela Carter’s accusation that it’s ‘an orgy of snobbery’, caught up in the ideological myth of the English country house.
I hadn’t had an opportunity to see the play — and sadly, due to other commitments, wasn’t able to — so it doesn’t discuss that at all.
It’s all largely improvised, and two-thirds through when I’m discussing Sally Potter’s film adaptation, I completely forget Tilda Swinton’s name.