Novel-Biography in the Context of Modernist Aesthetics (Based on V. Woolf Novel “Orlando”)


  • Iryna Kunytska Kyiv National Linguistic University, Ukraine



novel-biography, modernism, a kind of genre, author’s expression, Virginia Woolf


Based on the research of novel “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf the thesis proved that novel-biography is the kind of modernistic novel. The classic form of biographical novel in the system of modernistic aesthetics gained other function substantially. Modernism created a foundation so that a writer could use someone’s biography on their way to self-knowledge. The main idea was the internal harmony of creative individuals. Before the documentary became fiction and modernist there should have been a controversy with an established tradition, which is typical for the history of literature. The work “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf played an important part in a process of the renovation of a traditional novel genre. The author defined this novel as a biography. The main task, which Virginia Woolf set for herself, was to show the change of a person’s worldview and their inner world depending on the historical era. Orlando is a conditional creature that symbolizes a person’s spiritual beginning regardless of his environment, era, age or gender. This work demonstrates Virginia Woolf’s retreat from literary tradition and her parodying of what strengthened in numerous biographies of historical characters. “Orlando” is the epitome of the literary search of the author, a reflection of her modernist attitudes. With her “biography” Virginia Woolf defied all traditional canons of bio and realistic biographical narrative. Her work can be seen as a parody of a great science of biography. In such radical way the writer is trying to show that the traditional biographers are not able to fit all the complexity of man's inner world into the framework of credibility.

Author Biography

Iryna Kunytska, Kyiv National Linguistic University

Department of Theory and History of World Literature

Kyiv National Linguistic University

Velyka Vasylkyvska Street 73, 03150, Kyiv, Ukraine


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How to Cite

Kunytska, I. “Novel-Biography in the Context of Modernist Aesthetics (Based on V. Woolf Novel ‘Orlando’)”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 89, Nov. 2014, pp. 116-25, doi:10.31861/pytlit2014.89.116.



Genre Study