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Virginia Woolf is now recognized as a major twentieth-century author, a great novelist and essayist and a key figure in literary history as a feminist and a modernist. Born in 1882, she was the daughter of the editor and critic Leslie Stephen, and suffered a traumatic adolescence after the deaths of her mother, in 1895, and her step-sister Stella, in 1897, leaving her subject to breakdowns for the rest of her life. Her father died in 1904 and two years later her favourite brother Thoby died suddenly of typhoid.
With her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, she was drawn into the company of writers and artists such as Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, later known as the Bloomsbury Group. Among them she met Leonard Woolf, whom she married in 1912, and together they founded the Hogarth Press in 1917, which was to publish the work of T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and Katherine Mansfield as well as the earliest translations of Freud. Woolf lived an energetic life among friends and family, reviewing and writing, and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.
Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and she then worked through the transitional Night and Day (1919) to the highly experimental and impressionistic Jacob’s Room (1922). From then on her fiction became a series of brilliant and extraordinarily varied experiments, each one searching for a fresh way of presenting the relationship between individual lives and the forces of society and history. She was particularly concerned with women’s experience, not only in her novels but also in her essays and her two books of feminist polemic, A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938).
Her major novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925), the historical fantasy Orlando (1928), written for Vita Sackville-West, the extraordinarily poetic vision of The Waves (1931), the family saga of The Years (1937), and Between the Acts (1941).
April 2014 Guest Editor Nicci French on To the Lighthouse. Some people think modernism is chilly and unemotional: not this modernist masterpiece, which made me long to write. It’s a miraculous novel about time, which passes over everything, about art and the act of writing, about families, about human loneliness, about love.
One of Helen Dunmore's favourite books. 'There are novels which have an almost uncanny power to renew themselves in the reader's imagination. Each time I return to To the Lighthouse I'm struck by something that I haven't noticed before: a flash of description, a moment of double-edged intimacy between two characters, a touch of senory experience so immediate that it brings a shiver. More and more as we grow older, these great novels declare their authority. they will certainly outlive us, like sea or rock or sand.' You can read Helen Dunmore's full Introduction to To the Lighthouse in this Orange Inheritance edition published by Vintage.
A Room of One's Own, based on a lecture given at Girton College Cambridge, is one of the great feminist polemics, ranging in its themes from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to the silent fate of Shakespeare's gifted (imaginary) sister and the effects of poverty and sexual constraint on female creativity. Three Guineas was published almost a decade later and breaks new ground in its discussion of men, militarism and women's attitudes towards war. These two pieces reveal Virginia Woolf's fiery spirit and sophisticated wit and confirm her status as a highly inspirational essayist. On My Bookshelf by Philippa Gregory... This was recommended to me when I was 23. I remember taking it on a camping holiday and reading it while blowing up the airbed with a foot pump! Woolf says women can’t be expected to work creatively when they have no resources. I felt she explained in a logical way why women’s creativity is not more successful. I gave it to my daughter, because it’s such a powerful read and I wanted to pass that on to her. Philippa Gregory's new book, The White Queen, is out now.
One of One of Will Self's favourite books. On a June morning in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway is preparing for a party and remembering her past. Elsewhere in London, Septimus Smith is suffering from shell-shock and on the brink of madness. Their days interweave and their lives converge as the party reaches its glittering climax.
Virginia Woolf's extraordinary last novel, Between the Acts, was published in July 1941. In the weeks before she died in March that year, Woolf wrote that she planned to continue revising the book and that it was not ready for publication. Her husband prepared the work for publication after her death, and his revisions have become part of the text now widely read by students and scholars. Unlike most previous editions, the Cambridge edition returns to the final version of the novel as Woolf left it, examining the stages of composition and publication. Using the final typescript as a guide, this edition fully collates all variants and thus accounts for all the editorial decisions made by Leonard Woolf for the first published edition. With detailed explanatory notes, a chronology and an informative critical introduction, this volume will allow scholars to develop a fuller understanding of Woolf's last work.
Discover Virginia Woolf's landmark essay on women's struggle for independence and creative opportunity A Room of One's Own is one of Virginia Woolf's most influential works and widely recognized for its extraordinary contribution to the women's movement. Based on a lecture given at Girton College, Cambridge, it is one of the great feminist polemics, ranging in its themes from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to the silent fate of Shakespeare's gifted (imaginary) sister, and the effects of poverty and sexual constraint on female creativity. The work was ranked by The Guardian newspaper as number 45 in the 100 World's Best Non-fiction Books. Part of the bestselling Capstone series, this collectible, hard-back edition of A Room of One's Own includes an insightful introduction by Jessica Gildersleeve that explains the book's place in modernist literature and why it still resonates with contemporary readers. Born in 1882, Virginia Woolf was one of the most forward-thinking English writers of her time. Author of the classic novels Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), she was also a prolific writer of essays, diaries, letters and biographies, and a member of the celebrated Bloomsbury Set of intellectuals and artists. Discover why A Room of One's Own is considered among the greatest and most influential works of female empowerment and creativity Learn why Woolf's classic has stood the test of time. Make this attractive, high-quality hardcover edition a permanent addition to your library Enjoy an insightful introduction by Jessica Gildersleeve, who connects the themes of the text to the concerns of today's audience Capstone Classics brings A Room of One's Own to a new generation of readers who can discover how Woolf's book broke new artistic ground and advanced the position of women writers and creatives around the world.
This Norton Critical Edition includes: The 1925 first American edition text, introduced and annotated by Anne Fernald. A map of Mrs. Dalloway's London. An unusually rich selection of contextual materials, including diary entries and letters related to the composition of the novel, essays, short stories and biographical excerpts, and the only introduction that Virginia Woolf wrote to any of her novels. The voices of other writers are also included, allowing readers to consider the literary passages that influenced Woolf's art and historical moment. Eight reviews of Mrs. Dalloway, from publication to the present day. A chronology and a selected bibliography. About the Series Read by more than 12 million students over fifty-five years, Norton Critical Editions set the standard for apparatus that is right for undergraduate readers. The three-part format-annotated text, contexts and criticism-helps students to better understand, analyse and appreciate the literature, while opening a wide range of teaching possibilities for instructors. Whether in print or in digital format, Norton Critical Editions provide all the resources students need.
Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely? All this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not somehow become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? But that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things, here, there, she survived. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is now generally recognised as the author of two of the twentieth century's greatest literary works, To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway, both of which employ a style of narration that has come to be known as stream of consciousness, which focuses on the interior-and not always logical-movement of thoughts that make up the better part of most people's psyches. Woolf's 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is about the casualties of early twentieth-century life, and she explores the gendered forms of mental illness, and the social repercussions of feminism, homosexuality, and colonialism. The central consciousness is that of the title character, Clarissa Dalloway, on the day of a dinner party that she is giving. Moving through the relatively uneventful preparations, the arrival of the guests, and the rituals of hosting a party, Clarissa's thoughts wander across past, present, and into the future. Throughout the relatively mundane actions through which the book follows her, she is slowly revealed by means of her interior monologues of memory and reflection to be a most interesting person who has been squeezed by society into a rather ordinary role. The narrative broadens to include others in her life, most notably Septimus Warren Smith, a shell-shock victim whose life has had no direct connection to Clarissa's, but who in many ways can be read as a male parallel. This Broadview edition provides a reliable text at a very reasonable price. It contains textual notes but no appendices or introduction.
Mrs. Dalloway takes place on one day in the middle of June 1923. Its plot is seemingly thin: a middle-aged society hostess is having a party; she hopes the Prime Minister will attend; she reconnects with old friends from her youth. From these slimmest of premises a whole world unfolds. Of all of Virginia Woolf's novels, it is Mrs. Dalloway that appears to speak most intimately to our own time. Selected contemporary reviews, both positive and negative, are included in the appendices of this edition, as are materials on the literary, political, medical, and educational contexts of the novel.
FOREWORD BY ALI SMITH WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY FRANCESCA WADE Who better to serve as a guide to great books and their authors than Virginia Woolf? In the early years of its existence, the Times Literary Supplement published some of the finest writers in English: T. S. Eliot, Henry James and E. M. Forster among them. But one of the paper's defining voices was Virginia Woolf, who produced a string of superb essays between the two World Wars. The weirdness of Elizabethan plays, the pleasure of revisiting favourite novels, the supreme examples of Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Henry James, Thomas Hardy and Joseph Conrad: all are here, in anonymously published pieces, in which may be glimpsed the thinking behind Woolf's works of fiction and the enquiring, feminist spirit of A Room of One's Own. Here is Woolf the critical essayist, offering, at one moment, a playful hypothesis and, at another, a judgement laid down with the authority of a twentieth-century Dr Johnson. Here is Woolf working out precisely what's great about Hardy, and how Elizabeth Barrett Browning made books a substitute for living because she was forbidden to scamper on the grass . Above all, here is Virginia Woolf the reader, whose enthusiasm for great literature remains palpable and inspirational today.
Virginia Woolf's masterpiece, now in a beautiful clothbound edition designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith 'One of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century' Michael Cunningham Clarissa Dalloway, elegant and vivacious, is preparing for a party and remembering those she once loved. In another part of London, Septimus Warren Smith is suffering from shell-shock and on the brink of madness. Smith's day interweaves with that of Clarissa and her friends, their lives converging as the party reaches its glittering climax. Virginia Woolf's masterly novel, in which she perfected the interior monologue, brings past, present and future together on one momentous day in June 1923. Edited by Stella McNichol with an Introduction and Notes by Elaine Showalter
'Where are we to begin? How are we to bring order into this multitudinous chaos and so get the deepest and widest pleasure from what we read?' Published for the first time as a standalone volume, Virginia Woolf's short, impassioned essay, How Should One Read a Book? celebrates the enduring importance of great literature. In this timeless manifesto on the written word, rediscover the joy of reading and the power of a good book to change the world. One of the most significant modernist writers of the 20th Century, Virginia Woolf and her visionary essays are as relevant today as they were nearly one hundred years ago. Features a new introduction by Sheila Heti.
Jacob's Room, Virginia Woolf's third novel, is short compared with its predecessor Night and Day. She said herself that she learnt what to leave out by putting it all in. Jacob's Room may be read as the simple story of a young man's life from childhood until his death in the First World War, but it is much more than that: it subtly indicts a society that instils obedience and celebrates militarism. Consequently, Jacob's death seems random yet inevitable. Extensive explanatory notes clarify the myriad passing allusions, which should lead to a reassessment of Jacob's Room as one of the great modernist masterpieces, taking its place with Ulysses and The Waste Land in the iconic year of 1922. The substantial introduction includes a detailed account of the novel's composition, publication, and early critical reception, together with chronologies of composition and of Woolf's life.