New York: Crosby Gaige, 1928. First American Edition. Number 259 of 800 copies for sale signed by the author. A lovely Near Fine copy of the book with a large bookplate on the front paste-down and minor offsetting to the half-title, otherwise appearing unread. Gilt top-edge.
Released at the height of Woolf's literary celebrity, Orlando was a thrill to contemporary reviewers: "Those who open Orlando expecting another novel in the vein of Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse will discover, to their joy or sorrow, that once more Mrs. Woolf has broken with tradition and convention and has set out to explore still another fourth dimension of writing...In this new work she is largely preoccupied with the time element in character and human relationships, and with a statement of the exact complexion of that intangible moment...which we refer to as the present" (Contemporary New York Times review). Blending literary narrative with feminist theory, Orlando explores Einstein's theory of relativity through the lens of a single life that is spread and evolves throughout centuries. "At the beginning of the book, Orlando is a [Elizabethan era] boy of 16, melancholy, indolent, loving solitude and given to writing poetry...the book ends on the 11th October 1928, and Orlando is a thoroughly modern matron of 36 who has published a successful book of poems and has evolved a hard-earned philosophy of life" (Cleveland). The result is an allegory that questions the stability of any human category -- individual character, gender, selfhood -- and a novel that considers how time causes change on micro and macro levels. A testament to Woolf's innovative mind, and to her role as one of the most important early contributors to feminist and queer literature. Near Fine (Item #2262)