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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  38,027 ratings  ·  795 reviews
This modern American play watches an evening with two couples and the lies they fabricate about themselves to keep on living. It is a vicious and haunting drama.
Paperback, 242 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Scribner Book Company (first published January 1st 1962)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Trevor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maxwell
Holy smokes, this was hard to put down. It's riveting, a little vile, and dramatic to say the least. I'm so excited to talk about it in class this week. I'll probably come back and review it more properly then. Needless to say, this was excellent.
Laura
Jun 28, 2007 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, theater buffs, fans of dysfunctional relationships
This is, in my opinion, the best play ever written in the 20th century. There's also a great story about how this was the first drama rejected by the Pulitzer Prize committee for "obscenity" (you may have a hard time finding the obscenity in it, though, since it's from 1962). It's basically about two married couples who hang out in the wee hours of the morning following a party on a college campus in New England, but the interesting part is the way one couple tries to screw with the other's mind ...more
El
This falls under that category labelled AWKWARD SOCIAL GATHERING.

You ever been to a party where the host and hostess get totally hammered and spend the rest of the evening humiliating each other? If you haven't, I don't believe you, number one, and number two, you're a lucky bastard. It's awkward and uncomfortable and lemme tell you, it's not much better if you're the drunken host and hostess either. No one's having a good time, no matter how much liquor is consumed, keep that in mind.

The theate
...more
Kat Kennedy
This play is so fucked. I don't know whether it's genius or madness. Probably both.
Casey
This play makes me squirm with discomfort every time I read it. My mother raised me to be so conscious of manners that I'm practically Southern.

Even though George and Martha are just horrible, I can't help cackle at some of the insults they sling. When Martha says that George doesn't have "the stuff," my English Major heart is made happy. It's a totally perfect slam.

And who could not admire Albee's daring in using the term "monkey nipples"?
Beatrix
I think I'm still processing, but WOW!


"We all peel labels, sweetie; and when you get through the skin, all three layers, through the muscle, slosh aside the organs [...] and get down to bone...you know what you do then?
[...] When you get down to bone, you haven't got all the way, yet. There's something inside the bone...the marrow...and that's what you gotta get at.”
Beth
The central theme of this play is living without pretense. It involves 4 characters (and you will hate each of them) who berate each other through three acts. People have always raved to me about it, but I must admit that I can't understand why - rather than being emotionally jarred and on-edge, I felt bored and irritated. Every character is so villianized that there is no "heart" to the play, not a single character one can relate to. It's an interesting piece of literature, but it's definitely ...more
Ted Wenskus
I'm admittedly a little biased as I played Nick in a production of this, but Edward Albee is one of the truly great playwrights of the 20th century and this is one of his masterpieces. This unflinching look at living life without illusion is embodied in three acts that progress almost in real time through the course of an unforgettable evening of "fun and games." In fact, it is one of the most important evenings in these four characters' lives for reasons which I won't spoil here...


Is there a lo
...more
Jill
Aug 16, 2015 Jill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jill by: Brandon Wicke
Picture the most awkward couple conversation you've ever had to witness. You know -- an argument on the day of their wedding; boozy, passive-aggressive comments that get called out; eye rolling and mutters; all that. Then multiply it by a million. Add some bipolar disorder/delusion/daddy issues/mommy issues/general emotional turmoil. That approaches -- approaches -- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Plays are such a distinct medium. Just in the diction and grammar, I find you can always tell when y
...more
Yara
The first time I saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a few months ago and when I sat down in the theatre I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it is a famous play and that I thought the title was funny. After the first ten minutes or so I thought I had it all figured out: it was a comedy of manners about a loud wife and her grumpy husband. I settled in for a night of easy laughs, maybe a bit of slapstick along the way. Little did I know that by the time the first act was over, th ...more
Anne Nikoline
Jul 26, 2015 Anne Nikoline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of theater, or fans of dysfunctional tales
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: read for uni
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Edward Albee is a twisted play about a madness lurking in the shadows of a simple home and its family. It gradually takes its hold on these people, spreading through out to the two guests Nick and Honey who try no to get involved in George and Martha's private hell of a marriage gone wrong. It was so disturbing I felt embarrassed and awkward while reading it, and that makes it indeed a good read.

“Martha: Truth or illusion, George; you don't know the differen
...more
Lia Jacobson
Back and forth, back and forth, a husband and wife bicker. They bicker about each other. They bicker about their son. They bicker about the company. Back and forth, back and forth. If you like watching verbal arguments take place for hours at a time (more than hours, in book form), then this is the play novelette for you.
SPOILER:
It wasn't so much the characters that bothered me, or why they were arguing, it was just the arguing itself. It seems this entire play is based on people picking away at
...more
Sketchbook
---"What a dump!" Thus begins a most entertaining Albeography. The language shocked prissy critics in the early 60s. There's a lot of drinking, shrieking and insulting. Another play in which 2 couples snarl at each other and you wonder why someone doesn't say, "OK, we're going home!" But, if this was said, there's be no play.
Ana Rînceanu
This is the most funny, blood curling couple in history. The tension in this play is incredible and the moments of tenderness mixed with disgust and fear really drain you of all energy by the end, yet surprisingly leave some hope. Don't ask me why, I find it odd too. Maybe Albee is just that good.
Andriana Sakka
Διαβάζοντας κανείς το έργο αυτό αρχικά του φαίνεται παράξενο,ωμό, διεστραμένο εώς και χυδαίο θα έλεγα και αυτό όχι μόνο εξαιτίας των λέξεων-φράσεων που χρησιμοποιεί ο Άλμπι, αλλά και των σκηνών που διαδραματίζονται. Τελειώνει κανείς το έργο και ακόμα απορεί τι είδους τρέλα είναι αυτή που διακατείχε τα δύο αυτά ζευγάρια (κυρίως το πρώτο, τους οικοδεσπότες)και τι θέλει να πει αυτός ο μυστηριώδης τίτλος του "Ποιός φοβάται τη Βιρτζίνια Γουλφ" και τι σχέση έχει η Βιρτζίνια Γουλφ;
Ύστερα απο το διάβ
...more
Michael Alexander
Jul 26, 2012 Michael Alexander rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone obsessed with language games or terminally depressed, the gladly unmarried
My first Albee, and definitely, definitely not my last. The level of language-play going on in this thing is completely amazing. The portrait of an aging academic couple completely entangled in each other's mental worlds but forced to hiss and kick and wrangle every minute of every day. They know each other as well as any two people could--and they need each other, in a twisted way--but it doesn't mean they like each other, dear GOD.

And on top of all of this, the awkward social occasions that Al
...more
Jasmijn
When I finished the book, I was a bit confused. Or rather, I had been expecting something big and shocking at the ending (due to the description on the back etc), but I felt this hadn't happened. I then thought I might not have understood or might have missed something, so I searched online for some information. Turned out I had understood it perfectly well all along. So the so-called "shocking" climax did not shock me at all, but just left me with a bit of a disappointed "this was it?" feeling. ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
Both this and its adaptation have one mode throughout, which is to say the grating screech. However innovative this play's famous look into the travails of the "perfect" suburban marriage might've been in the early '60s, it just seems like two people screaming at each other now, which means the "why-do-I-care" test is failed and the whole affair just comes off as sort of hollow. And the title wasn't even funny the first time.
Ayeh
دیوونگی تنها پناهگاهیه که وقتی دروغ های دنیا روی سرهای کوچولومون سنگینی می کنه بهش پناه می بریم .
Ben
This is a play filled with awkward moments. Imagine being the guests of the verbally abusive, vindictive George and Martha. Throughout the play I wondered how it was that Nick and Honey did not leave sooner; why not make an excuse to remove themselves from the company of their obviously very damaged hosts? And then at a certain point, as the sad story unfolded, I realized that Nick and Honey were perhaps -- like people who stop to stare at an accident -- unable to move. They were drawn, like a m ...more
Nicole
This book made me curious. It seems to me like I know so many Georges and Marthas. However, the Marthas are so much easier to make out in the crowd. The women who yearn for excitement and attention. They're very easy to resent, fun to blame, fine to befriend, but painful to be jealous of these dames. How they can grab a man's attention and yet be so damaged. Only,every so often, is it easy to blame the man. George is highly intelligent and highly imaginative, and is he as damaged as Martha? Or d ...more
Demi
Our first impression of George and Martha is that they are a surprising and disturbing couple. Other than their inappropriate behavior towards each other, they cannot even manage to be decent around people. By the end of the first act we can deduce that their marriage is set out to be a satire on 1950's perfect American families, Albee uses George and Martha Washington (the famous duo) as a link from the real world to his book. The state of George and Martha's child seems to be unknown, they arg ...more
Lina Baker
This play was, first and foremost, definitively disturbing, awkward and above all, effectively written.

Chronicling one very late evening and many many drinks, Albee portrays one married couple's inability to confront their fears, passions, and insecurities juxtaposed against a secondary couple who at first appear to be perfectly normal, though are later revealed to have dysfunctionalities all their own. Throughout the three acts of the play, Albee sets up scene after scene of verbal and physical
...more
Hunter Murphy
Few plays have left a greater impression on me than this one. It is the antithesis of the Ozzie and Harriet/ Leave it to Beaver mid-century version of America. It is real. It is tough. At times tragic and hilarious, the play is a portrait of a complicated, tempestuous, and alcoholic relationship between a husband and wife.

(Btw, the movie with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor is lights-out good, and I found it to be true to the original text.)

This is not a feel-good piece of art, but it is ce
...more
Divya Kesaraju
Edward Albee – A twisted, funny and an emotionally brutal play. The language is shocking. There is lots of drinking and insulting. The play is completely mad. It shows the very core of dysfunctional relationships, how people resent their partners and how they fight each other.May be the play is not about trying to fix something broken, but about starting over and creating something new. It strips away social pretense.
Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf – Who is afraid of life without illusion?
“Mart
...more
Luis
Siendo el único escenario la casa de Martha y George y habiendo solo cuatro personajes, la obra de Edward Albee es un gran ejemplo de cómo no es necesaria una gran base para desarrollar la complejidad que el ser humano es capaz de sacar a relucir.

La historia gira en torno al matrimonio protagonista en una noche en la que acogen a una pareja de invitados, con consecuencias poco previsibles que están disparadas por la particular vivencia de la vida en pareja que mantienen Martha y George y de la q
...more
Furqan
This play is rowdy, vulgar, hysterical and simply absurd, like a monkey in a dinner jacket. It's coming to our local theater next month. I am looking forward to it.
Arcopol Chaudhuri
I've not been much of a reader of plays, but this one was a fabulous introduction. It's divided into three acts, totalling into well over two hours. So when I say that finished reading it in close to four hours, you can imagine the pageturner this one turned out be. I'm quite a sucker for film and literature about destructive marriages, failed relationships - my love for films like Revolutionary Road, Closer, Blue Valentine are examples - and this play, about four completely messed up individual ...more
Alan
One of the best plays I have ever read.
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Final Book Review 1 15 Nov 29, 2013 08:36AM  
Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Virginia Woolf play 1 7 Nov 15, 2013 07:45PM  
Public Play House: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 5 9 Nov 02, 2013 06:56AM  
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Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright known for works including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream. His works are considered well-crafted and often unsympathetic examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflect a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights su ...more
More about Edward Albee...
The American Dream & The Zoo Story The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? The Zoo Story and Other Plays Three Tall Women A Delicate Balance

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“I said I was impressed, Martha. I'm beside myself with jealousy. What do you want me to do, throw up?” 48 likes
“Dashed hopes and good intentions. Good, better, best, bested.” 42 likes
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