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Between the Acts

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,525 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
In Woolf's final novel, villagers present their annual pageant, made up of scenes from the history of England, at a house in the heart of the country as personal dramas simmer and World War II looms. Annotated and with an introduction by Melba Cuddy-Keane
Paperback, 130 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1941)
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The last act.

This is the tenth and last of Virginia Woolf’s novels. Of the other nine, I read the two most famous ones some years ago; the rest I’ve read in the last three months, which makes eight in a row, non-stop.

I feel as if I’ve attended a series of plays, each with a differently decorated set and its own cast of characters but each sharing themes, locations and character types with the others. There are even characters who appear in more than one of the works: Clarissa Dalloway and her h
Jan 14, 2016 Ilse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
Fragments of life’s rich pageant

Sharp, witty, vital, brilliant. With Between the acts, Woolf sings an eudaimonic valediction to her readers, and finally, to life, as Woolf was still working on the final revisions when she walked into the Ouse and the novel was published by Leonard Woolf 4 months after her death. Although sometimes perceived as unfinished and jokingly referred to as her ‘Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman’, she gave birth to a full-term child. A full-blown, proficient novel,
Jan 20, 2014 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
Maybe it's because this is technically unfinished (a forward from Leonard Woolf states that although the draft was completed, Virginia Woolf died before she was able to make final corrections and revisions, so it was sent to the printers as is), but this one didn't strike me quite in the way Woolf's other books have. But that's not to suggest that it isn't good - remember, this is Virginia Woolf, so when I say that it didn't strike me as much as her other ones, I only mean that this book felt li ...more
Entre os Actos - o último romance de Virginia Woolf, que concluiu mas já não reviu, - foi publicado, pelo seu marido, meses depois do seu suicídio.
É uma obra com uma estrutura original constituída por dois planos narrativos: o romance tradicional no qual, a dado momento, as personagens assistem a uma peça de teatro representada por eles próprios.
As personagens principais são um casal, Isa e Giles, que não sabem se se amam ou se odeiam e cuja sombra da infidelidade, potencial não real, paira sobr
2011 Update: This is the third consecutive spring in which I've read BTA. I'll confess my reading this go-round felt less urgent (I...dare I say it?...skimmed parts of the pageant), but nevertheless increased yet again my love for this novel. Deceptively minimalist, austerely affective, Between the Acts feels somehow so apart from and so integral to Woolf's canon. The characters themselves are powerfully immediate; almost allegorical in the way Woolf employs metaphors, images, or emotions as sho ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Boris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
В навечерието на втората световна война В.У. написва книга. Между действията = Между войните = Между антракта = Между отношенията.

Тази книга раказва за една пиеса, която проследява развитието на Англия от малко невинно момиче, което говори с езика на елизабетинската епоха в първо действие, еволюира в езика на викторианската епоха във второ действие, а в трето действие завършва вместо с поклон от актьорите - с огледала срещу публиката. От заглавието до най-незначимото и кратко изречение в съдържа
Lynne King
I love Virginia Woolf's "Letters" and "Diaries". I often look at them as they show her wit. They are brilliant and compelling reading. I also thoroughly enjoyed her novel "Mrs Dalloway" but this book, well I'm sorry but it's not for me at all. I liked it initially and then I lost interest. It appeared to be full of fripperies.

Such a shame...
Jul 04, 2008 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took a class on Woolf in the last semester of my third year. This was the last book we read. We had the option of taking an in-class final or writing a paper. As I had not finished much of the assigned reading, I opted for the paper. That quarter, all of my finals were done Monday, and this paper wasn't due until Friday at 5pm. I figured I'd gun this out and turn it in Wednesday at the latest. Ha. No.

Woolf never finished editing this book. It was the middle of WWII and she lost hope. She kill
Aug 08, 2012 Maddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I always forget about Virginia Woolf despite everything of hers that I have read hits me in the gut and stays with me for years. Maybe I carry her around in my bones.
“If we’re left asking questions, isn’t it a failure, as a play? I must say I like to feel sure if I go to the theatre, that I’ve grasped the meaning… Or was that, perhaps, what she meant?”

Third read. (First read in June 2009; second read in November 2009.)

The pleasures of revisiting Woolf are manifold. Years later, I still feel like I never left this novel. I read it twice in 2009 in preparation for my undergraduate thesis, and now, in 2015, I have been happily astonished that it felt so fresh a
Brenden O'Donnell
I think I tried to make this novel conform to the rest of Woolf's work when I first read it. This reading, done in the context of a Modernism seminar after having read "Ulysses" and "Nightwood," has provided a more appropriate frame. Though throughout most of this reading it still felt a little more like Djuna Barnes than Woolf, once I got through to the end I was surprised how much Woolf I recognized in it.

I read it as a prophetic vision of the end of human meaning, though it's really ambiguou
Dec 04, 2009 Blake rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Here is Virginia Woolf at her Orlandoesque playfulness.

In a country house, somewhere in England, the residents and others prepare for a pageant, annually performed in the house grounds. It is just weeks out from WW2. The pageant, a celebration of English history, is attended by the entire local community. There, amidst the rush, the leisure and lingering, Woolf has canvas fit to serve her swirling brush.

The writing is filled with hidden meanings, many of them tucked away in seemingly innocuous r
Sep 01, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Seriously awful.

I'm not even going to pretend to like it.

I have to discuss this book for my English class tomorrow. What can I honestly say about it? I know the hardcore kids in my class have stacks of notes they took. They will sit on the edge of their seats waiting for the moment to shoot their hand up and draw pointless analogies to other books they've read. They'll have sentences beginning with "It's interesting how..." and "It seems to me that..." I'll sit quietly and mock them in my mind.

Jun 17, 2007 Casper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
The second novel I've read by Woolf. It's the last one she wrote before committing suicide and one of her shortest. Using a lot of modernist techniques it also illustrates Woolf's feeling for language. With a short and economic style she can create moments of beautiful literature in this novel. The point of Between the Acts is this use of language. Forget the plot, read and reread the lines.
Jul 25, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
You know what I love the most about Virginia Woolf? I am completely captivated by her novels. When I am reading her, I find myself completely lost in her words. Her descriptions bring her world together and it surrounds me in such a way that I just become part of it. It’s so wonderful…

“Between the Acts” was brilliant, the kind of brilliant that doesn’t ask to be adored, but that just is due to its simplicity. Virginia Woolf’s observant side is so evident here… it really takes your breath away if
Oct 06, 2008 Cat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is beautiful. Her language and imagery are so vibrant and lush. Woolf uses the production of a meager English Village play to mix fantasy with reality.

At times, the reader is backstage at the heart of a theatrical drama where the producer and director, Miss La Trobe, feverishly wills her players to action.

Woolf not only wrote a book when creating Between The Acts, but also, developed a play complete with stage directions. I was often caught up in its plot and found myself wondering what m
Jul 23, 2007 Paige rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably a very often overlooked novel, because it is easy to assume it is about nothing, but there are a lot of interesting things going on here with culture and the state, particularly the role spectators play and are expected to play in cultural events inspiring nationalism or patriotism.
Jul 14, 2010 Clarence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainstay-fiction
Surprisingly funny and characteristically beautiful. The novel moves fluidly between different points of view and is concerned with the intrusion of history--both civilized and primitive--onto the present.
Pardis Parto
در میان نقشها کتابی است پرشور و منسجم و، نسبت دیگر آثار وولف، عمیق و تکاندهنده. نگارش رُمان که همزمان است با جنگ داخلی اسپانیا و بهقدرت رسیدن هیتلر در آلمان، نگاه وولف را به جنبههای تاریک زندگی و نیروهای شر معطوف کرد. همین امر به سمبولیسم غریبِ داستان زیبایی و بصیرتِ هولناکی بخشیده است.
ویرجینیا وولف با تمرکز به تاریخ انگلستان از خلال استعارات و تلمیحات بهطرز بینظیری دیدگاهش را نسبت به دیالکتیک تاریخی (عشق در برابر نفرت، تمدن در برابر توحش، آزادی در برابر بردگی و غیره) بیان و تأکید میکند که همهجا
May 28, 2015 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This turned out a lot better then I thought it was gonna be. This is her last and unfinished novel, so I wasn't expecting much. In fact, I was expecting this to be depressing and have a reference about killing herself, but it was surprisingly upbeat and funny.

Unlike her previous book The Years, this one can be read in one day. It's fast and I think it's meant to be read like a play. This is a play within a novel type of deal, so it's a frame story I guess. It's much like her other works where sh
Belinda G
Jan 19, 2015 Belinda G rated it liked it
Shelves: university, 2015
I ended up quite liking Between the Acts, particularly the first half. I didn't enjoy it as much once the pageant began, as I found it a bit hard to follow. Perhaps Virginia would have changed the structure a bit if she'd lived, but since Leonard says she wouldn't have, I don't hold much hope.

What struck me about this particular novel was the amount of quiet desperation in each and every character. This whole book is Woolf being quietly terrified and sad. There are some heartbreaking passages i
Feb 22, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
So this book took me forever to finish it! And not because I did not enjoy it (because I did), but because I was so busy with exams, and college and reading enormous amounts of papers to get through! But anyway, today I had some free time and finished in about an hour the eighty pages I got left.

So, yeah, it was pretty dense, which kind of made it difficult to get into it at first, as often happens with Woolf's works. I felt I didn't know the characters until around page sixty or seventy. I thin
Apr 09, 2012 Irina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Irina by: Christian
Intr-un fel, mi-a amintit de ,,Sarpele", de Eliade. Un fel de banal familial combinat cu mister si final enigmatic. In niciuna nu ai certitudinea unui final, sfarsitul nu exista.
Este scrisa destul de posac, cu mici fragmente reverberante in care autoarea parca isi da ultima suflare, in care isi arunca ultima speranta - dar si aceea inconfundabil de trista.
Se prezinta un real bizar, o taina a vietii, care insa nu e prezentata pentru a fi deslusita, ,,e pusa in lumina soarelui" si lasata pentru
Oct 24, 2008 Nikki rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics, for-class
I really, really don't like Virginia Woolf's fiction. There's a nice flow to the writing, a nice lyrical feeling, but the way she chooses to write about things seems to me pretentious and boring, and sort of... scatterbrained. I'd like to love Woolf's writing, as my favourite writer Ursula Le Guin does, but I just can't seem to connect with or get anything out of her writing. I didn't see the "point" in it, I suppose. There were bits I liked about it -- the play, for example, at the part where t ...more
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Opening lines:
It was a summer’s night and they were talking, in the big room with the windows open to the garden, about the cesspool. The county council had promised to bring water to the village, but they hadn’t.

1* The Waves
2* Flush
3* Mrs. Dalloway's Party: A Short Story Sequence
4* To the Lighthouse
4* The Years
3* Monday or Tuesday
4* Orlando
4* Mrs. Dalloway
3* A Haunted House and Other Short Stories
3* The Lady in the Looking-Glass
3* Jacob's Room
3* The Du
An interesting final work for this author. A definite sense that she was trying to sum up her views about writing and art in this book. You sense the author's discord a bit as well, because the writing is just slightly choppy. Though I wonder if a failure to communicate significance was intended. The play was heavy-handed and ambitious, but it seems intended to be. It's harder to get to know the inner lives of the characters in this one, but I do enjoy the moments of satire. Style is radical and ...more
In Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf switches from her usual focus on the individual to a collective outlook, that of a rural community gathering in the summer of 1939 to watch the annual town pageant. Communication between the characters is fragmented, each individual seems isolated, yet an attempt is made to connect. Images mirror words, inner thoughts are expressed in the surrounding nature. The oncoming war is subtely evoked, its ominous approach contrasted with underlying humor and lighthear ...more
Aug 13, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's well known that this novel is not a final draft. I honestly couldn't see that at all. It was concise. It was funny. It simply, exquisitely lovely. A poignant farewell. So, why, why, why did there have to be a racial slur in the narration? Yes, I know the phrase was in common usage at the time. And, yes, I know I've forgiven Scott Fitzgerald for far worse. But, from Virginia, it was jarring. I just sat there blinking at the page. Hers is a message I want heard, so it saddens me to see that m ...more
Nov 04, 2015 Qi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books
One must be patient with this novel; it has woven three realms of reality in this brief account of a village afternoon.

Started with a sketch of country gentries in the Oliver estate, we moved on to watch a village play installed outdoors. The weather seemed to perfect at first, till a shower abruptly ended the play, leaving the everyone muttering, ruminating: “what does the play mean?” This is the first apparent realm of “what is going on”.

Each person carried a world of her own while attending
Jul 02, 2015 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
for a while, maybe years, i've been bothered by the creeping suspicion that i don't love virginia woolf as much as i think i do, or as much as i have set myself up to. (my reputed affection for vwoolf is fairly well-known, i think; for a graduation gift my aunt and uncle bought me an original hogarth press printing of a pamphlet she wrote of advice to a young poet.) the extent of my fandom is actually materially quite paltry: i went on an ill-advised vwoolf binge at the tender age of fourteen (d ...more
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Moments of Readin...: * [General] Between the Acts 2 14 Apr 19, 2013 09:43AM  
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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 about Virginia Woolf...

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