Orlando, posterity and textual survival beyond the book - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Conference Papers Year :

Orlando, posterity and textual survival beyond the book


This paper’s premise is that certain texts call for adaptation in the sense that they encapsulate anxieties about their posterity and their survival beyond their current material actualization. Orlando’s musings on death and immortality in Virginia Woolf’s eponymous novel are a case in point as they reflect a conflicted longing for the solidity of commemorative monuments and for the immateriality of memory-scapes. Lying “entombed” and “embalmed” in the medium of the book, words also rise “like an incantation” when brought to life by the reader (Orlando, Penguin Classics, 2000, 57). This passage is to be related to the modernist revival of interest in the works of Sir Thomas Browne which notably appeared in the 1923 edition of the Golden Cockerel and, after the publication of Orlando in 1928, in the 1932 Cassell edition printed at the Curwen Press and illustrated by Paul Nash. Drawing from the ambivalent view of the book as both grave and medium of transmission in modernist print culture, I propose to examine how Wayne McGregor’s ballet adaptation Woolf Works (which premiered in London in 2015) addresses issues raised by the transmedial shift from book to performance. Woolf Works revisits modernist visions of textual inscription and survival, and it also partakes of the creation of the “Woolf Complex”, to use a phrase which I derive from Dennis R. Cutchins and Dennis R. Perry’s “Frankenstein Complex” (Adapting Frankenstein, Manchester UP, 2018). Therefore, the broad aim of this paper is to explore the posterity of Woolf’s texts at the intersection of book history, adaptation and intermediality.
Not file

Dates and versions


  • HAL Id : hal-03769441 , version 1


Sophie Aymes-Stokes. Orlando, posterity and textual survival beyond the book. In Between and Across: New Directions, Mappings and Contact Zones, International Society for Intermedial Studies, Sep 2022, Dublin, Ireland. ⟨hal-03769441⟩


34 View
0 Download


Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More