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


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  • 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")

  • All the time she writing the world had continued.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • In fact, though their acquaintance had been so short, they had guessed, as always happens between lovers, everything of any importance about each other in two seconds at the utmost, and it now remained only to fill in such unimportant details as what they were called; where they lived; and whether they were beggars or people of substance.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • And indeed, it cannot be denied that the most successful practitioners of life, often unknown people by the way, somehow contrive to synchronize the sixty or seventy different times which beat simultaneously in every normal human system, so that when eleven strikes, all the rest chime in unison, and the present is neither a violent disruption nor completely forgotten in the past.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • In the 18th century we knew how everything was done, but here I rise through the air, I listen to voices in America, I see men flying- but how is it done? I can't even begin to wonder. So my belief in magic returns.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • Are we so made that we have to take death in small doses daily or we could not go on with the business of living?
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • Love, the poet said, is woman's whole existence.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")

  • We must admit that he had eyes like drenched violets, so large that the water seemed to have brimmed in them and widened them; and a brow like the swelling of a marble dome pressed between the two blank medallions which were his temples.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Orlando")


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