The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.
From 1918 to 1941, even as she penned masterpiece upon masterpiece, Virginia Woolf kept a diary. She poured into it her thoughts, feelings, concerns, objections, interests, and disappointments—resulting in twenty-six volumes that give unprecedented insight into the mind of a genius.
Collected here are the passages most relevant to her work and writing. From exercises in the craft of writing; to locations, events, and people that might inspire scenes in her fiction; to meditations on the work of others, A Writer’s Diary takes a fascinating look at how one of the greatest novelists of the English language prepared, practiced, studied, and felt as she created literary history.
Edited by and with a preface from her husband, Leonard Woolf, A Writer’s Diary is a captivating must-read study for Woolf fans, aspiring writers, and anyone who has ever wanted a glimpse behind the curtain of brilliance.
"Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel to split the atom. If the novel before Mrs. Dalloway aspired to immensities of scope and scale, to heroic journeys across vast landscapes, with Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf insisted that it could also locate the enormous within the everyday; that a life of errands and party-giving was every bit as viable a subject as any life lived anywhere; and that should any human act in any novel seem unimportant, it has merely been inadequately observed. The novel as an art form has not been the same since.
"Mrs. Dalloway also contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century."
--Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
Begun as a “joke,” Orlando is Virginia Woolf’s fantastical biography of a poet who first appears as a sixteen-year-old boy at the court of Elizabeth I, and is left at the novel’s end a married woman in the year 1928. From Orlando’s early days as a page in the Elizabethan court, through first love, heartbreak, and gender transformation, we follow Woolf’s protagonist across centuries, through adventures in Constantinople and friendship with the poet Alexander Pope. All along, Orlando pursues literary success with her long poem, The Oak Tree.
Part love letter to Vita Sackville-West, part exploration of the art of biography, Orlando is one of Woolf’s most enduringly popular and entertaining works. It has inspired a number of adaptions, including a film version starring Tilda Swinton. This edition, annotated and with an introduction by Maria DiBattista, author of Imagining Virginia Woolf, will deepen readers’ understanding of Woolf’s brilliant creation.
Annotated and with an introduction by Susan Gubar
Wanting to “ease [her] brain” after writing The Waves, Virginia Woolf turned to the correspondence between poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning—and found in their love letters an unexpected inspiration in their shared joy and affection for Flush, their cocker spaniel. As she put it, “the figure of their dog made me laugh so I couldn’t resist making him a Life.”
Here Flush tells his story as well as the love story of Robert Browning and his wife, complete with horrid maids, bullying fellow dogs, mysterious illnesses, and clandestine romance. Along the way, plenty of other topics are explored, including the barriers between man and animal, the miseries of London, and the oppression of women by “father and tyrants.”
Imbued with Woolf’s philosophical views about the repressive Victorian mindset, Flush is a unique and imaginative story of a dog, of what it means to love—spiritually, emotionally, and unconditionally—and of what it means to human. A unique literary treat, it is “a brilliant biographical tour de force” (The New York Times) and “a canine classic” (The Guardian).
When we meet her, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation, though in her mind she is something much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house, she is flooded with remembrances of faraway times. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices that brought her there, hesitantly looking ahead to the unfamiliar work of growing old.
It is a work of art that still inspires today, leading author Michael Cunningham, for example, to write his bestseller The Hours. As Cunningham explains: “Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel to split the atom. If the novel before Mrs. Dalloway aspired to immensities of scope and scale, to heroic journeys across vast landscapes, with Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf insisted that it could also locate the enormous within the everyday; that a life of errands and party-giving was every bit as viable a subject as any life lived anywhere; and that should any human act in any novel seem unimportant, it has merely been inadequately observed. The novel as an art form has not been the same since.”
This edition, annotated and introduced by Bonnie Scott, offers notes on the text as well as invaluable critical analysis, and suggestions for further reading.
Annotated and with an introduction by Jane Marcus
Dialogue and descriptions of thought and actions are used in equal amount, unlike in Woolf's later book, To the Lighthouse. There are four major characters, Katharine Hilbery, Mary Datchet, Ralph Denham, and William Rodney. Night and Day deals with issues concerning women's suffrage, if love and marriage can coexist, and if marriage is necessary for happiness. Motifs throughout the book includes the stars and sky, the River Thames, and walks. Also, Woolf makes many references to the works of William Shakespeare.
The young Rachel Vinrance leaves England on her father’s ship, the Euphrosyne, on a voyage to South America. Despite being accompanied by her father and her aunt and uncle, Helen and Ridley Ambrose, the passage leads to Rachel’s awakening, both as a woman and as an individual. As the ship is wracked by storms, she finds herself romantically entangled with Richard Dalloway, an encounter that leaves her troubled and confused.
Upon arrival in Santa Marina, Rachel strikes off alone to contemplate her identity, and finds finds herself with the aspiring novelist Terence Hewet. As the emerging romance between the two is complicated by their disagreements about gender and art, another storm, and tragedy, appear on the horizon.
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
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.