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Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando” Quotes (39 Quotes)


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  • Happy the mother who bears, happier still the biographer who records the life of such a one!
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • He- for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it- was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • The mind of man works with strangeness upon the body of time. An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented by the timepiece of the mind by one second. This extraordinary discrepancy between time on the clock and time in the mind is less known than it should be, and deserves fuller investigation.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")


  • The taste for books was an early one. As a child he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading. They took his taper away, and he bred glow-worms to serve his purpose. They took the glow-worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinder.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • A million candles burnt in him without his being at the trouble of lighting a single one
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • Heaven has mercifully decreed that the secrets of all hearts are hidden so that we are lured on for ever to suspect something, perhaps, that does not exist.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • There was a serenity about him always that had the look of innocence, when, technically, the word was no longer applicable.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • I have sought happiness through many ages and not found it.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • To evade such temptations is the first duty of the poet. For as the ear is the antechamber to the soul, poetry can adulterate and destroy more surely then lust or gunpowder. The poet's, then, is the highest office of all. His words reach where others fall short. A silly song of Shakespeare's has done more for the poor and the wicked than all the preachers and philanthropists in the world.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • To put it in a nutshell, he was afflicted with a love of literature. It was the fatal nature of this disease to substitute a phantom for reality.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")


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