he novel, by choosing not to grow old during the three centuries time span of the storyline and most importantly changing gender from male to female, is depicted in such a manner as to provoke the reader’s thought by sincerely analyzing all aspects of the two sexes’ behavioral attributes.
Although Woolf’s work of Orlando is a passionate depiction based on the life of her friend and lover Vita Sackville-West as it was originally intended to be, the novel gives us a far more illustrative view of the world concerning gender specifics, sexuality and human nature as it had been during the second half of the previous millennium. According to Wikipedia, the novel can be read as a ‘roman à clef’ which is a work of literature describing real life, behind a façade of fiction and where the main character is usually a famous personality, or in some cases, the author. Woolf has used immense material from the writings of Vita as a basis for her own novel. Even though the main character here is based on the life of Vita, using the overtones of fiction and the liberties made available through fantasy, Woolf was able to construct a well documented biography of Vita, without subjecting herself to criticism or controversy. Themes such as homosexuality have been subtly brought into the picture by fictionalizing the real life character as a male who transforms into a female later on. This show the ingeniousness of Virginia Woolf, as most other works of English fiction directly approaching the subject of homosexuality had been banned during her years. Therefore even though she has titled her work as a biography, the novel has been classified as fiction, and this shows how Woolf had intended to cross the boundaries set between fiction and non-fiction with Orlando, “so the novel is not only about trans-gender, but also trans-genre, so to speak.” (Wikipedia)
The book offers us considerable insight into the study and comparison between the male and female mind, as Woolf