|Virginia Woolf (1902)|
By George Charles Beresford
A commercial success, Orlando has been analyzed by many, from popular magazines to scholarly tomes. Yet the inspiration for the novel was clearly stated in Woolf's diary on October 5, 1926, "And instantly the usual exciting devices enter my mind: a biography beginning in the year 1500 and continuing to the present day, called Orlando: Vita; only with a change about from one sex to the other."
Woolf and author Vita Sackville-West met through the Bloomsbury Group of English writers in 1922. The long relationship, began as romantic and sexual and evolved into friendship by the 1930s. Sackville-West was very supportive of Woolf and encouraged her to have confidence in herself, to write and rest instead of wearing herself out with physical activities.
|Vita Sackville-West in 1926|
According to some sources, the two women remained friends until Woolf's suicide in 1941. Other sources, however, indicate that their friendship ended in 1935 over politics and the looming Second World War.
Meanwhile, the true E.V. Odle (1890-1942) was an English editor and author, the first editor of British Argosy Magazine between 1926 and 1935. He published The Clockwork Man (1923), the first novel of a cyborg. The clockwork device in the protagonist's body allows him to travel from 8000 CE to the present, where he plays cricket and describes his experiences in a machine-regulated future.
Odle's known works also include a short fantasy "The Curse upon Isaac Knockabout" (April 1923 Gaiety) and a second novel, Juggernaut, which was reportedly published as an ebook in 2016.
Amazon: Virginia Woolf Author Page
Amazon: The Clockwork Man by E.V. Odle