Orlando in the Cities

Sebastian Michael,

Orlando in the Cities

"Orlando - figment of the imagination, ideal and idol and fallible in every way conceivable but flawless in the eye of the beholder - is given to the world perfectly formed by the gods, themselves constructs of the human endeavour to conquer the unknowable and unknown."

Orlando, beautiful though lazy shepherd boy on Crete, is tasked by the gods to settle a dispute: who among them is patron of the most perfect city.

His journey takes him to Alexandria where he studies under Euclid, to Florence, where he sits for a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, to London where he falls in love with a Russian princess; then, having inexplicably but assuredly turned woman, to Paris where she joins the women's march on Versailles, then to Vienna where she chooses to dress as a man while making the acquaintance of, among others, a curious Dr Freud and a very young Ludwig Wittgenstein, and finally, now once again as a man though experimenting with drag, to New York where he experiences the creative as well as destructive forces around Warhol's Factory; before, ultimately, timeless, ageless, and without gender or agenda Orlando becomes simply Orlando.

A playful literary odyssey through 2500 years of Western civilisation.

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