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Orlando is Virginia Woolf's most playful and border-crossing text. Defined by the writer herself as a biography, the story of the life of her intimate friend Vita-Sackville West, it is by all standards a most unusual biography, following the life of a young nobleman, Orlando, from his youth during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I at the end of the 16th century, through several centuries of British history and ending up in the then present of 1928. In this very long life-span Orlando experiences a variety of lives and relationships, including a sex-change around the turn of the 18th century. In this way Woolf is able to comment extensively not only on aspects of British history and society, culture and manners, including stereotypical notions of gender-roles, but also on literary genres and conventions and the borders separating them.
Sally Potter's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando is a classic by now, a highly inventive and impressive recreation of the original, adding visual beauty to the original text without losing its humour and ironical perspective.