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Metaphor of Travel: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928)

Author(s): Chin-yuan Hu

Journal: Coldnoon : Travel Poetics
ISSN 2278-9642

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 110;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Orlando/Orlando | travel | metaphor | becomings | boundary crossing | Nomadology

Citation:Hu, Chin-yuan. “Metaphor of Travel: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928).” Coldnoon: Travel Poetics 2.4 (2013): 110-132. Web. Abstract:Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography (1928) is a travel narrative about Orlando’s becoming-woman through boundary crossings. The time of Orlando’s life spans 340 years; the places of Orlando’s travel bridge “the familiar” (England) and “the foreign” (Turkey). Appropriately enough, travel being a metaphor of boundary crossing witnesses the process of Orlando’s gender crossing, which happens after his spatial boundary crossing from Turkey to England. That Orlando has to go through the other place/culture (the foreign) to “become a woman” so that s/he eventually “become-woman” suggests that the tradition of English literature and culture needs a new mode to transform its desire, experience and knowledge. And this alternative is not the feminine mode opposing the masculine mode in the Oedipus structure, but the molecular mode that transcends the male/female binary opposition. The present essay explores the metaphor of travel in Orlando in the light of Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of nomadology. In view of Orlando’s boundary crossings and constant becomings, the present essay argues that Orlando/Orlando is a prototype of nomadic travel, and eventually a metaphor of travel.

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