The climate of Orlando: Woolf, Braidotti and the Anthropocene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This essay brings Rosi Braidotti’s recent writing on the Anthropocene into dialogue with Woolf’s writing on climate in her novel Orlando (1928). As critics are beginning to notice, Woolf’s novel presents the reader with vicissitudes in ‘the English climate’ that parallel Orlando’s own personal transformations, presenting itself as an early outlier of climate fiction (‘cli-fi’). Less remarked upon is the radical understanding of materialism that informs Woolf’s presentation of the interrelation between human life and broader nonhuman entities and systems. This article reads Woolf’s material ontology, in which humans, weather systems and environments are irreversibly entangled, alongside Braidotti’s ‘monistic approach to subjectivity’, arguing that in both we find a similar attempt to articulate a non-anthropocentric worldview which nonetheless remains alert to political and ethical issues within human society. Showing how Woolf actively historicizes the Anthropocene in Orlando, I contend that not only can Braidotti’s work help to articulate Woolf’s materialism, but that Woolf’s attention to the sexual politics of climate change provides depth to Braidotti’s posthuman feminism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-257
Number of pages21
JournalComparative Critical Studies
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Virginia Woolf
  • Rosi Braidotti
  • climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • Orlando
  • posthumanism
  • feminism


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