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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  41,414 Ratings  ·  908 Reviews
“Twelve times a week,” answered Uta Hagen, when asked how often she’d like to play Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Like her, audiences and critics alike could not get enough of Edward Albee’s masterful play. A dark comedy, it portrays husband and wife George and Martha in a searing night of dangerous fun and games. By the evening’s end, a stunning, almost unbeara ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Signet (first published January 1st 1962)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienHamlet by William Shakespeare
Oscar Nominations
28th out of 220 books — 27 voters
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Plays Worth Reading
12th out of 134 books — 19 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Trevor
Jun 28, 2009 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hadrian
Oct 01, 2015 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, plays, fiction
I finally saw this the other night. It was fun to watch, although by 'fun' I often mean painful and awkward. This is a long social faux pas taken to its most uncomfortable extreme, and I often had to look down just from being so embarrassed at watching what was happening.

(view spoiler)
Laura
Jun 28, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Maxwell
Mar 23, 2015 Maxwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, drama, 2015
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.
El
May 05, 2012 El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kat Kennedy
This play is so fucked. I don't know whether it's genius or madness. Probably both.
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.”
Casey
May 11, 2007 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults
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"?
Ahmad Sharabiani
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?=Wer hat Angst vor Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee
عنوان: چه کسی از ویرجینیا وولف میترسد؟؛ نویسنده: ادوارد آلبی؛ مترجم: عبدالرضا حریری؛ تهران، بی نا، 1356، در 19 و 181 ص؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م

عنوان: چه کسی از ویرجینیا وولف میترسد؟؛ نویسنده: ادوارد آلبی؛ مترجم: سیامک گلشیری؛ تهران، قصیده سرا، 1384، در 180 ص؛ شابک: 9648706069؛ ترجمه از متن آلمانی؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م

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Ted Wenskus
Oct 06, 2014 Ted Wenskus rated it it was amazing
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
Yara
Aug 20, 2014 Yara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
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
Beth
Aug 28, 2007 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Maria
Mar 16, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was… intense.

I am not sure whether the relationship between Martha and George is highly dysfunctional or highly functional. They seem to live in a world of their own, a world that plays by their rules and not the other way around.

The presence of an audience, Honey and Nick, seems to only bring up either their worst or their best, depending on the point of view. As their games go on, instead of exposing themselves (how does one expose oneself when one already lives outside oneself?), Marth
...more
Greta tra le righe
"Chi ha paura di Virginia Woolf?" è un viaggio all'inferno. Un inferno fatto di odio che spurga da ferite vecchissime, un inferno di cattiveria e follia e perdita di ogni ritegno.
Quando si legge una sceneggiatura di un'opera teatrale l'esperienza è sempre, per forza di cose, parziale e incompleta, limitata e limitante, eppure questo è uno dei casi in cui ho sentito proprio poco la mancanza della controparte scenica. O forse dovrei dire che l'impianto dialettico è di per sé così catalizzante e fo
...more
Jill
Aug 16, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  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
Nikoline
Jul 26, 2015 Nikoline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of theater, or fans of dysfunctional tales
Recommended to 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
Leslie
Nov 12, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
4.5* This play about a dysfunctional couple reads almost as well as it plays on stage. I have seen the film version with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (more than once) & I kept hearing their voices while I was reading.
Lia Jacobson
Mar 07, 2011 Lia Jacobson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 Maria 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.
لیلی
Apr 07, 2016 لیلی rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
کاااملا ادوارد آلبی بود:|
من البته از ادوارد آلبی فقط رویای آمریکایی رو خونده بودم قبل از این:))، و خب، کاملا شبیه بودن به هم... همون وضع آشفته بازار ی رو این یکی هم داشت... یه سری آدم که هی حرف میزنن و حرف میزنن و حرف میزنن و بی سر و ته و قاطی پاطی ن و میخوان فقط به تو بفهمونن که همه چیز تا چههه حد بی بنیان و قاطی پاطی ه اونجا... یه جور طنز تلخ و اینا به هرحال:))

و خب، برای من، اینها آثار ارزشمندین که من دوست شون ندارم:-” یعنی متوجه ارزششون هستم، ولی خودم علاقه شخصی بهشون ندارم و سبک مورد علاقه
...more
Andriana Sakka
Feb 27, 2013 Andriana Sakka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Michael Alexander
Jul 26, 2012 Michael Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 22, 2016 Jasmijn rated it really liked it
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.
Melissa
Feb 21, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An awkward, almost maddening ride. I've always heard about this book, but never actually knew anything about it. The story takes place after a faculty party at a university; one new, young couple comes over to another couple's house at 2am to continue drinking. When a party starts at 2am, obviously, nothing could go wrong.

The dialogue is witty, vicious, and nonstop. Marta and George have an explosive relationship that leaves their guests, and the readers, uncomfortable and confused, as details o
...more
Steven
Mar 09, 2016 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There will be order and constancy... and I am unalterably opposed to it." (36)
I had previously wanted to read Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but without a particular sense of urgency - until it was mentioned in a commentary on Strindberg's plays. Apparently, Albee was influenced by Strindberg; intrigued, I immediately ordered a copy, and ended up reading Albee's play in almost a single sitting. Powerful and mesmerizing (in the sense of hardly allowing you to avert your gaze), funny and also t
...more
Vishnu Vardhan
Dec 08, 2015 Vishnu Vardhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this play in the summer of last year, June 2014. That was a rather cheery time outdoors. The occasional rains and the warm, tropical sun kept the cockles sufficiently comfortable and in such an atmosphere this play did not perhaps hit me with all it had.

Now, an year and a half on, I'm a bit older, slightly more aware of the world and its ways I returned to Albee's acclaimed work. And now, in this winter I could comprehend the mad discontent of Albee's creations, or so I like to bel
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Ayeh
Jul 28, 2008 Ayeh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
دیوونگی تنها پناهگاهیه که وقتی دروغ های دنیا روی سرهای کوچولومون سنگینی می کنه بهش پناه می بریم .
Casey
Dec 11, 2015 Casey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2-3*

Thing this whole book can be sum up as #awkward.

Really enjoyed Act I, it set the scene for a very interesting (and immensely cringe worthy), late night drinking shesh between the two couples. It reminded me of witnessing a friend having an argument with their parents right in front of you and that feeling of dread that they are going to make you part of it. That awkward moment when they ask your opinion and you don't know what to say or whose side to choose.

I was very entertained by the tox
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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
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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?” 53 likes
“Dashed hopes and good intentions. Good, better, best, bested.” 45 likes
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