by Virginia Woolf
Orlando Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
For still the old credulity was alive in her; even the blurred type of a weekly newspaper had some sanctity in her eyes. So she read, lying on her elbow, an article by Sir Nicholas on the collected works of a man she had once known--John Donne. […]Life? Literature? One to be made into the other? But how monstrously difficult! (6.40)
Despite all her centuries of life, Orlando has maintained a respect and awe for literature. She still reads and attempts to understand the arguments of her time.
I don't think I could, she continued, considering the article from this point of view, sit in a study, no, it's not a study, it's a mouldy kind of drawing-room, all day long, and talk to pretty young men, and tell them little anecdotes […] Though I'm spiteful enough, I could never learn to be as spiteful as all that, so how can I be a critic and write the best English prose of my time? (6.40)
Being a literary critic and being a writer require two very different sets of skills. What does this imply for the differences in character between Nick Greene and Orlando?
She was reminded of old Greene getting upon a platform the other day comparing her with Milton (save for his blindness) and handing her a cheque for two hundred guineas. She had thought then, of the oak tree here on its hill, and what has that got to do with this, she had wondered? What has praise and fame to do with poetry? What has seven editions (the book had already gone into no less) got to do with the value of it? Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice? […] What could have been more secret, she thought, more slow, and like the intercourse of lovers, than the stammering answer she had made all these years to the old crooning song of the woods… (6.85)
For Orlando, writing is a private conversation between her and nature; it has nothing to do with anyone or anything else.