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The Voyage Out

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  4,510 ratings  ·  238 reviews
Woolf’s first novel is a haunting book, full of light and shadow. It takes Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose and their niece, Rachel, on a sea voyage from London to a resort on the South american coast. “It is a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South americanca not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an americanca whose spiritual boun...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published February 3rd 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 1915)
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Dec 03, 2012 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: wanna win don't play
Recommended to Mariel by: colonize Mars on Earth Day
I wrote a review of The Voyage Out in July, 2012 after I read it. I deleted it because I lash out ("Stupid, stupid, stupid!") at myself. It's just a book review, Mars. I don't know how to use semi colons. I recognize them no more than I would see the brush strokes on a painting. The Virginia Woolf reviews on this site are more than a little intimidating. It isn't just because of the semi-colons but I gotta admit that I feel like Laura in The Glass Menagerie when she arrives to school late and ca...more
22 February, 2014

Mr. H. Melville, Esq.
c/o The Spouter Inn, New Bedford, MA

My Dear Melville,

I pray this letter finds you well, as, you no doubt noticed, I could not do so in person. Do accept my apologies; since our whaling voyage two years ago it has been my fondest wish to journey with you again, and, indeed, it was my intention to visit you at the beginning of this year; but, alas, I have been detained by Mrs. Woolf. Damn that woman, she is too good! I did not mean to tarry long with her, but...more
Freaking fantastic.

Rachel Vinrace is a naive and vulnerable 24-year-old young woman on a sea voyage from London to a South American resort with her aunt and uncle. Having been sheltered the first 24 years of her life, Rachel is exceptionally shy and startled when meeting new people on the ship, particularly when they show genuine interest in her as a person and as an intellectual. The relationships she forms with these people affect her greatly, and she even falls in love. This isn't just a book...more
Here's another one. This is Virginia Woolf still finding her voice as a writer. Certainly if she had written like this throughout her career she would have been remembered, but probably not celebrated as a genius. This story still has some of the hallmarks of her famous writing - focus on characters' perceptions, use of setting as a symbol for the characters' journeys, lyrical writing and even irony. This story began calmly and slowly and then came to a pretty sincere climax. The personal voyage...more
Overall I found the novel on second reading to be very good. The fully developed Woolfian sense of humor is here. In the early going the book doesn't seem at all inferior to later more experimental works. Though those later works are leaner, more engaged with how to represent cognition in a text. In the later works, too, there is a somewhat greater ability to condense events to the numinous moment. That's here, too, but I think such moments get a little lost in the somewhat larger, more expansiv...more
Dec 20, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Tyra Banks
Shelves: own, fiction

This is my first Woolf. I don't know what she intended with this novel, so for now I'll just go with my impressions as someone living in early 21st century America, where nearly everyone has to work for a living.

The characters in this novel don't. Oh, there's one wealthy industrialist, the ship-owner father of the protagonist, Rachel Vinrace - it's not clear if all his money comes from ship-owning, or some is inherited. Everyone else, with the exception of the one or two servants mentioned, has...more
This may well be a five star novel, but for now I’ll stick with four being this is her first novel I'm supremely confident it only gets better (and based on the short stories I've read, my only exposure to *Woolf, I'm sure this is true.) I think Virginia Woolf could be my new Nabokov. So, why does everyone want to keep us apart? First Blake, and then the people at Dover Publishing with their miniscule font and nonexistent line spacing and then those free ebook folks who put out a kindle version...more
I read this book not for school, but at the reccomendation of my English teacher for the first Virginia Woolf novel after reading the essays "A Room of One's Own", with an invitation to discuss it with her and to have the resource of her parents who had studied Virginia Woolf extensivly. I read a library copy, and then bought my own copy and read it again, marking up the book as I did so. This technique, called "active reading" is a requirement for all of the texts and handouts we read in school...more
Archit Nanda
Virginia Woolf’s first novel is a slow intoxicating tale about a journey of few families to a small town in a colonised country. On a metaphorical level, it is a journey of a woman who has for the first time moved outside the confines of her society. Virginia Woolf isn’t essentially a novelist with a plot. Instead, she creates some really well sketched out characters and she goes inside the heads of those characters to reveal a distinct world that lies deep in her character’s thoughts and feelin...more
Stephanie Marie
For her first attempt at a novel, Voyage Out is an extremely significant moment in Woolf's career. First of all, for how much Woolf brings in aspects of her own life, Bloomsbury, and her own emotional state throughout her career, there's a curious sense that Woolf is taking careful pains to edit herself out of this novel. Written in the years after her first suicide attempt (after her mother and half sister Stella die), Voyage Out is clearly Woolf's attempt to situate herself-- still a young wom...more
The Voyage Out is Woolf's first novel. It was originally set to be published in 1913 by the Duckworth Press, but Virginia was in the midst of a mental breakdown that delayed its publication. She continued to revise the work until it was officially published in 1915. She began work on The Voyage Out in 1907 under the title Melymbrosia, which would later find a separate place in Woolf scholarship as Melymbrosia An Early Version of "The Voyage Out" edited by Louse De Salvo in 1982.

Lytton Strachey...more
another great kindle buy - _early works of virginia woolf_ for a buck! this edition includes _jacob's room_, _monday or tuesday_, _night and day_, and _the voyage out_.

_the voyage out_, published in 1915, is her first novel. woolf was 33 when the book was published.

often compared with emily bronte's _wuthering heights_, _the voyage out_ is a socio-economic study of a young woman and the book's heroine, rachel, defining her own place in society arguably as a protofeminist.

i'm a little more than...more
There are some writers whose famous lives can intimidate readers. For a long time, Virginia Woolf has been one of those writers to me. Perhaps this stems from the extensive examination and discussion in class when we read The Hours. There is a reason for the reverence but, as usual, no reason to have been intimidated. Woolf examines interpersonal relationships with great depth while establishing a rapport with the reader that progresses from formal to familiar and comfortable, not at all the dau...more
Alejandra Rotondaro ferreira
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Kristin
Well, that was a commitment! I must confess, if it wasn’t for the big name Virginia Woolf on the cover, I might have been tempted to give up. As it was, the curiosity to find out what the fuss about her is, made me finish the book. Now I am mostly confused about what she was trying to communicate with it.
Some people travel to South America. Here they meet some other people, and go about their lives. The end. The only slightly interesting part was the character of Rachel Vinrace. She has lived a...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I had a bit of a time getting into this. Woolf is all over the place and the story is very loosely constructed. Finally, I decided to just let her give me a glimpse of the lives of people before The Great War and enjoy myself. And, sure enough, it was at that point I became absorbed. There is more story than that, and there is no question she was determined to become an important feminist author - even if the term had not yet been coined.

I expected this to be mostly a sea voyage, yet another poi...more
Aug 15, 2009 Max rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Okay, so Virginia Woolf's first novel really is pretty delightful, even if it's not as stylistically avant-garde as fans of Orlando, Lighthouse, Dalloway, Waves etc. would perhaps hope for. It's just as incisive though, as Woolf spends the vast majority of her 375 pages inside her characters' heads. There's very little plot, really, as sheltered youthful heroine Rachel Vinrace leaves her father's care to vacation in South America with her aunt. It's beautifully ironic, really, the setting; typic...more
This is Woolf's first novel, and I picked it up as part of the "women writers" mood I was in immediately following my surgery. Of course due to its length, its difficulty, and my schedule, it took me twice as long to read The Voyage Out as it did to read Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Agnes Grey, and My Antonia combined. I enjoyed it because I enjoy Woolf - even the most boring plots with the most endless passages and the most elusive meanings will keep me transfixed with her poetry an...more
"To feel anything strongly was to create an abyss between oneself and others who feel strongly perhaps but differently." (p.32)

"Reality dwelling in what one saw and felt, but did not talk about, one could accept a system in which things went round and round quite satisfactorily to other people, without often troubling to think about it, except as something superficially strange.... Mrs. Ambrose stood thinking for at least two minutes. She then smiled, turned noiselessly away and went, lest the s...more
Nov 30, 2007 Evan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Woolf fans
An impressive first novel that took 9 years to write. (Sound familiar?) A voyage out from England to some South American port where the novel's miscellany are all vacationing. And a voyage out of a highly cloistered youth for the 24-year-old heroine. Interesting to reflect on how much this is NOT Jane Austen. The difference is that Woolf is suffused with the hope and promise of the early twentieth century to move beyond all the social bonds and injustices of the 19th, coupled with a tragic lack...more
Päivi Brink
Finally I managed to finish this book that I've been reading at least half a year. Even if it had some fantastic literary moments, it was still quite boring as a whole. The novel consists of endless conversations by English people who are travelling in South America. They manage to be so British they don't have any interaction with the locals. Only the nature is admired. The conversations give an interesting window into the lifes of British men and especially women in 1915. Men and women seem to...more
Bello, maravilloso, excitante, adorable. Este libro captó mi interés desde las primeras páginas, la suavidad y fluidez de la lectura era tan enternecedora, tan encantadora, que no podía dejar de leer al captar todas esas palabras posicionadas perfectamente una tras otra.

Todos los personajes están tan bien desarrollados que es sorprendente lo lejos que puede llegar Virginia en la expresión de cada uno, tan cuidadosa, tan única. La historia envuelve de tal manera que es imposible preguntarse qué...more
This was Woolf's first novel, and the first Woolf novel I've read. I don't know what I was expecting, but this was not the best book I've read. She is known to be one of the prominent modernist writers, whatever that means. We are moved through the book mostly via the characters' thoughts and I found most of the first two thirds of the book tedious. I had read the introduction and knew to expect a tragedy, so their trip up the river got my interest up. The ending was far better than the beginnin...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Published in 1915, this is Virginia Woolf’s first novel. It tells the story of 24 year old Rachael Vinrace who embarks her father’s ship for a South American voyage. It also highlights a personal voyage for Rachael where she leaves the sheltered London suburban life and steps into a new world in which freedom, self discovery, and interaction are pivotal…
The general path of the novel is one of discovery, to experience, to tragedy…

The character Clarissa Dalloway, the protagonist of her later novel...more
Fascinating read, though I know most Woolf-heads don't hold it too high among her oeuvre. Essentially a coming-of-age novel (with Rachel Vinrace), there are also some really terrific visions of the female initiation process into culture, sexuality, and self in the novel. It drags at moments, but some others--particularly the (in)famous kiss scene and the last several chapters--are absolutely riveting. I'm in a Woolf course at the moment, so who knows what my opinion will be as I become increasin...more
Ian Ryan
For the middle 200 pages of this book I was bored. There's no getting around it; I was absolutely bored out of my skull and felt like reading the book was an complete chore. There were multiple times where I contemplated putting it down, putting it away completely, and just starting something new entirely, which was quite a disappointing result from an author who I usually love. I could rarely go at a stretch of reading more than 50 pages in a go, and that was with me counting, almost constantly...more
Intime Âme
As a Woolf fan, I could really appreciate this novel, but it isn't one I would recommend for first-time readers. Despite the holes in the text, you can tell where the story lulls and struggles to flow, one bares witness to the potentials her writing holds. And as readers of her novels may see, her flirtations with these 'potentials' come to fruition in her later novels.
Given her unique style of writing and themes, The Voyage Out is extraordinarily good. Having known this book was written during...more
This was Virginia Woolf's first novel and it's surprising how fully-formed she was right out of the gate. I mean, there's not any internal monologue or any of the more experimental flourishes that you identify with her, but that was never really what made her the writer she was. She just used those techniques to aid her principle interest of looking at the inner world of her various characters as she jumped from one to the next. And she does that here, just using more traditional methods. The pr...more
The book was very difficult to begin and took me an arduously long time to read. It was almost like reading a slow-paced period piece movie in the beginning. It is definitely not a book for everyone and parts take some effort to get through.
That being said I loved the interludes of imagery and the character development is just incredible, although at first everyone is jumbled as multiple characters are introduced at once, by the end you have a distinct impression of even the side characters. Al...more
Katherine Wootton

I really enjoy Woolf's philosophical questioning, gentle mocking of social strictures and stereotypes, and her concern with character and their internal worlds. I liked to see Rachel's mind and personality bubbling away in response to her changing environment, and getting a sense of how all of the characters were moved, one way or another, by their interactions.

But I am SO DAMN TIRED of books where female characters die so male characters can realize shit. I was with you, Virginia, but i...more
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es...more
More about Virginia Woolf...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and music and everything beautiful.” 91 likes
“I want to write a novel about Silence," he said; “the things people don’t say.” 72 likes
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