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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 Carlotte Bronte to the silent fate of Shakespeare's gifted (imaginary) sister and the effects of poverty and sexual constraint on female creativity. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed A Room of One's Own, you might like Woolf's Orlando, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Probably the most influential piece of non-fictional writing by a woman in this century' Hermione Lee, Financial Times
HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics. Clarissa Dalloway is a woman of high-society - vivacious, hospitable and sociable on the surface, yet underneath troubled and dissatisfied with her life in post-war Britain. This disillusionment is an emotion that bubbles under the surface of all of Woolf's characters in Mrs Dalloway. Centred around one day in June where Clarissa is preparing for and holding a party, her interior monologue mingles with those of the other central characters in a stream of consciousness, entwining, yet never actually overriding the pervading sense of isolation that haunts each person. One of Virginia Woolf's most accomplished novels, Mrs Dalloway is widely regarded as one of the most revolutionary works of the 20th century in its style and the themes that it tackles. The sense that Clarissa has married the wrong person, her past love for another female friend and the death of an intended party guest all serve to amplify this stultifying existence.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. `Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind...' Based on a lecture given at Cambridge and first published in 1929, `A Room of One's Own' interweaves Woolf's personal experience as a female writer with themes ranging from Austen and Bronte to Shakespeare's gifted (and imaginary) sister. `Three Guineas', Woolf's most impassioned polemic, came almost a decade later and broke new ground by challenging the very notions of war and masculinity. This volume combines two inspirational, witty and urbane essays from one of literature's pre-eminent voices; collectively they constitute a brilliant and lucid attack on sexual inequality.
A Room of One's Own (1929) has become a classic feminist essay and perhaps Virginia Woolf's best known work; The Voyage Out (1915) is highly significant as her first novel. Both focus on the place of women within the power structures of modern society. The essay lays bare the woman artist's struggle for a voice, since throughout history she has been denied the social and economic independence assumed by men. Woolf's prescription is clear: if a woman is to find creative expression equal to a man's, she must have an independent income, and a room of her own. This is both an acute analysis and a spirited rallying cry; it remains surprisingly resonant and relevant in the 21st century. The novel explores these issues more personally, through the character of Rachel Vinrace, a young woman whose `voyage out' to South America opens up powerful encounters with her fellow-travellers, men and women. As she begins to understand her place in the world, she finds the happiness of love, but also sees its brute power. Woolf has a sharp eye for the comedy of English manners in a foreign milieu; but the final undertow of the novel is tragic as, in some of her finest writing, she calls up the essential isolation of the human spirit.
Introduction and Notes by Deborah Parsons, University of Birmingham. 'I am writing to a rhythm and not to a plot', Virginia Woolf stated of her eighth novel, The Waves. Widely regarded as one of her greatest and most original works, it conveys the rhythms of life in synchrony with the cycle of nature and the passage of time. Six children - Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny and Louis - meet in a garden close to the sea, their voices sounding over the constant echo of the waves that roll back and forth from the shore. The subsequent continuity of these six main characters, as they develop from childhood to maturity and follow different passions and ambitions, is interspersed with interludes from the timeless and unifying chorus of nature. In pure stream-of-consciousness style, Woolf presents a cross-section of multiple yet parallel lives, each marked by the disintegrating force of a mutual tragedy. The Waves is her searching exploration of individual and collective identity, and the observations and emotions of life, from the simplicity and surging optimism of youth to the vacancy and despair of middle-age.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. `The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.' Written for her lover Vita Sackville-West, `Orlando' is Woolf's playfully subversive take on a biography, here tracing the fantastical life of Orlando. As the novel spans centuries and continents, gender and identity, we follow Orlando's adventures in love - from being a lord in the Elizabethan court to a lady in 1920s London. First published in 1928, this tale of unrivalled imagination and wit quickly became the most famous work of women's fiction. Sexuality, destiny, independence and desire - all come to the fore in this highly influential novel that heralded a new era in women's writing.
With an Introduction and Notes by Merry M. Pawlowski, Professor and Chair, Department of English, California State University,Bakersfield. Virginia Woolf's singular technique in Mrs Dalloway heralds a break with the traditional novel form and reflects a genuine humanity and a concern with the experiences that both enrich and stultify existence. Society hostess, Clarissa Dalloway is giving a party. Her thoughts and sensations on that one day, and the interior monologues of others whose lives are interwoven with hers gradually reveal the characters of the central protagonists. Clarissa's life is touched by tragedy as the events in her day run parallel to those of Septimus Warren Smith, whose madness escalates as his life draws toward inevitable suicide.
With an Introduction and Notes by Merry M. Pawlowski, Professor and Chair, Department of English, California State University, Bakersfield. Virginia Woolf's Orlando 'The longest and most charming love letter in literature', playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf's close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth's England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Costantinople, awakes to find that he is a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the novel ends in 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women. Orlando, now a wife and mother, stands poised at the brink of a future that holds new hope and promise for women.
In Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf explores the events of one day, impression by impression, minute by minute, as Clarissa Dalloway's and Septimus Smith's worlds look set to collide - this classic novel is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.' On a June morning in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway, the glittering wife of a Member of Parliament, is preparing for a party she is giving that evening. As she walks through London, buying flowers, observing life, her thoughts are of the past and she remembers the time when she was as young as her own daughter Elizabeth, her romance with Peter Walsh, now recently returned from India; and the friends of her youth. Elsewhere in London Septimus Smith is being driven mad by shell shock. As the day draws to its end, his world and Clarissa's collide in unexpected ways. In Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf explored the events of one day, impression by impression, minute by minute, and recorded the feel of life itself. 'One of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century' Michael Cunningham 'Woolf is Modern. She feels close to us.' Jeanette Winterson Born in 1882, Virginia Woolf 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. 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. Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and 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), and Between the Acts (1941). Woolf lived an energetic life, reviewing and writing and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.
HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics. Every summer, the Ramsays visit their summer home on the beautiful Isle of Skye, surrounded by the excitement and chatter of family and friends, mirroring Virginia Woolf's own joyful holidays of her youth. But as time passes, and in its wake the First World War, the transience of life becomes ever more apparent through the vignette of the thoughts and observations of the novel's disparate cast. A landmark of high modernism and the most autobiographical of Virginia Woolf's novels, To the Lighthouse explores themes of loss, class structure and the question of perception, in a hauntingly beautiful memorial to the lost but not forgotten. Chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.
'I lay in the garden and red the Browning love letters, and the figure of their dog made me laugh so I couldn't resist making him a Life.' Throughout her career, Woolf invokes the animal world both directly and metaphorically. She started to write a biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's spaniel after finishing The Waves, tracing the life of the spaniel from his country origins, his puppyhood spent with the writer Mary Mitford, through his sheltered existence with Elizabeth Barrett in her sick room, and later travels in Florence. But Flush is much more than a playful writer's holiday. As well as offering an exploration of a life of the senses free from the tyranny of words, Flush can be read as an allegorical testimony to the inscrutable, discarded, unrepresentable lives of the Victorian women poets, who were barely discussed or read in the 1930s. From a quite literally low point of view, Woolf explores class and gender in Victorian London, with gently mocking humour. Charming yet also radical, Flush is a work of sensuous imagination, an apparently light text that opens up a range of questions concerning difference which are woven through the whole of Woolf's writing. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
A highly acclaimed collection of twenty-eight essays, sketches, and
short stories presenting nearly every facet of the author's work.
"Up to the author's highest standard in a literary form that was
most congenial to her" (Times Literary Supplement (London)).
"Exquisitely written" (New Yorker); "The riches of this book are
overwhelming" (Christian Science Monitor). Editorial Note by
This volume brings together Virginia Woolf's last two novels, The Years (1937) which traces the lives of members of a dispersed middle-class family between 1880 and 1937, and Between the Acts (1941), an account of a village pageant in the summer preceding the Second World War which successfully interweaves comedy, satire and disturbing observation. Rewriting the traditional family saga and the pageant, these unsettling novels provide extraordinary critiques of Englishness and English identity while pursuing compelling existentialist and psychological themes such as the nature of time, memory, personal relationships and sexual desire. Their tightly constructed narratives enable the reader to experience the fragmented lives of their characters and the difficulties that they have in communicating with each other and even understanding themselves. Read together, these novels illuminate each other in ways that will engage both the student and the general reader.
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare
had a sister: a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, equal in
genius, but whose legacy is radically different.This imaginary
woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius
unexpressed. But if only she had found the means to create, urges
Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal
sibling. In this classic essay, Virginia Woolf takes on the
establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world
around her and give a voice to those who have none. Her message is
simple: A woman must have a fixed income and a room of her own in
order to have the freedom to create.
Written after Woolf had finished her emotionally draining work on The Waves, Flush purports to be an autobiography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's eponymous cocker spaniel, charting the dog's early days in the countryside, his adoption by the famous poet, his subsequent life in London and his travels with his owners to Italy. While the resulting narrative is light-hearted and playful on the surface, Woolf ingeniously uses the faux-naif impressions of her animal narrator to voice her social criticism on topics such as the class system, the oppression of women writers and the degradation of the environment. Much like its predecessor Orlando, Flush is a genre-defying blend of biography and fantasy, and an accessible yet stylistically innovative jeu d'esprit.
'Things are not simple but complex. If he bit Mr. Browning he bit her too. Hatred is not hatred; hatred is also love.' Virginia Woolf's delightful biography of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning's spaniel, which asks what it means to be human - and to be dog. One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
Between the Acts is Virginia Woolf's last novel, and in her own opinion it was `more quintessential' than any of her others. Set in the summer of 1939 on the day of the annual village pageant at Pointz Hall, the book weaves together the musings of several disparate characters and their reactions to the imminence of a war which is to change the pattern of history. Before the book was published in the spring of 1941, Virginia Woolf had taken her own life. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
'She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day' 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
To the Lighthouse is at once a vivid impressionist depiction of a family holiday, and a meditation on a marriage, on parenthood and childhood, on grief, tyranny and bitterness. Its use of stream of consciousness, reminiscence and shifting perspectives, give the novel an intimate, poetic essence, and at the time of publication in 1927 it represented an utter rejection of Victorian and Edwardian literary values.
Virginia Woolf saw the novel as an elegy to her own parents, and in her diary she wrote, 'I used to think of him [father] and mother daily, but writing The Lighthouse laid them in my mind.'
This rich introduction to the art of Virginia Woolf contains the
complete texts of five short stories and eight essays, together
with substantial excerpts from the longer fiction and nonfiction.
An ideal volume for those encountering Woolf for the first time as
well as for those already devoted to her work. Edited and with a
Preface by Mitchell A. Leaska.
This edition takes the first British edition of The Years as its copy-text, and includes a comprehensive introduction, extensive explanatory notes, and a full list of textual variants and editorial emendations. * Features a comprehensive introduction, detailing the lengthy process of the composition and revision of the novel, and its subsequent publication history * Includes extensive explanatory notes, highlighting the political, historical, social and literary contexts of the novel * Provides a full account of the variants between the first British and American editions, supplemented by a list of editorial emendations made in this present edition
'I shall never forget the day I wrote "The Mark on the Wall" - all in a flash, as if flying, after being kept stone breaking for months. "The Unwritten Novel" was the great discovery, however. That - again in one second - showed me how I could embody all my deposit of experience in a shape that fitted it... I saw, branching out of the tunnel I made, when I discovered that method of approach, Jacob's Room, Mrs Dalloway etc - How I trembled with excitement.' The thrill Woolf got from these stories is readily apparent to the reader. She wrote them in defiance of convention, with a heady feeling of liberation and with a clear sense that she was breaking new ground. Indeed, if she had not made her bold and experimental forays into the short story in the period leading up to the publication of Jacob's Room (1922), it seems certain that her arrival as a great modernist novelist would have been delayed. Quirky, unrestrained, disturbing and surprising, many of these stories, particularly the early ones, are essential to an understanding of Woolf's development as a writer. She thought some of her short fiction might be 'unprintable' but, happily, she was mistaken. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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