Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Between the Acts ” as Want to Read:
Between the Acts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Between the Acts

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  3,009 ratings  ·  153 reviews
This extensively annotated edition of Virgina Woolf's last novel is based on the text of the first English edition, emended on the basis of a comparison of it with her final typescript.
Represents an authoritative new edition of one of Virgina Woolf's most challenging and subtle books, and the first of her books to be published posthumously.
Features the text of the first
...more
Paperback, 203 pages
Published June 12th 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published 1941)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Between the Acts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Between the Acts

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Madeline
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
Cheryl
BETWEEN THE ACTS was Virginia Woolf's last and only manuscript to be published without her final approval. However, nothing seems amiss when reading it, only the finite nature of her words.

Written between 1938 and 1941, just two weeks before her suicide, it is apparent that war, for a second time in two decades was once again crowding her thoughts with macabre calls to men for duty from which they may not return. Churchill's radio addresses posed dire circumstances if German bombers were success
...more
Jamie
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
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...
Diana
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
...more
Blake
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
...more
Michael
Sep 01, 2008 Michael rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.

W
...more
Casper
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.
Maddy
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.
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
...more
Cat
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
...more
Paige
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.
Claire
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.
Emily
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
...more
Irina
Apr 09, 2012 Irina rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
...more
Nikki
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
Laura
Free download available at eBooks@Adelaide.

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
...more
Kristin
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
Lia
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
Sarah
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
Luka Račić
Kako neko delo može istovremeno da oscilira između užasa rata i beskrajne slobode i lepote izraza?
Odgovor na to pitanje leži u poslednjem romanu Virdžinije Vulf, velikoj, antiratnoj, agorafobičnoj paraboli u paraboli, koja predoseća nadolazeću bujicu ludila, svršenu ne samo talasima Drugog svetskog rata, već i onima reke Uz.
Ni u jednom trenutku, autorka romana ne odustaje od njenih večitih fascinacija: vode, bića, nebića, praznine, lepote, trivijalnosti i horora ljudskih odnosa, rečima praveći
...more
Canvas
The last published work of Woolf, but my first book of Woolf, in English. I've tried to read the Chinese edition last year, eventually frustrated by the embarrassing translation. Then I turned to its original edition, and picked up the delicacy Virginia deserves.

A village show in a summer. And thanks to the good whether, a show in the open air of summer. Nature plays its part, the swallows, the terrace, the trees, changing clouds, sunlight and a sudden short shower. Just a pageant of this year,
...more
Maria
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
...more
caty
I did enjoy this, but it's a not a book one can speed through. It reads like a conversation. Or, it reminded me of how I sometimes talk, when for some reason I cannot let a silence break the conversation, and the subject changes, and is distracted, and we'll follow that tangent -- and here we are at the beginning again. Blink or try to skim and you will miss everything.

There were a couple of beautiful lines and I wished I had a highlighter or pencil at the ready (a few lines were so poignant I h
...more
Steve Morrison
My favorite Woolf thus far. Delightful and witty, it features a hilarious send-up of English stage drama from Shakespeare to Shaw at its center. Not only is it a jolly romp, it is infused with a lovely, soft sorrow for people and the passing of time. Beautiful, funny, and melancholy.
Wavegenerator
There are other Virgina Woolf books which may be more representative, but this book disturbed and stirred me more than the others with its circumspect look at the quandary of human existence.
Pontiki
I have only read A Room of One's Own, which I loved, and this novel. I found it difficult to follow the characters, at times, and I think, unfortunately, some of the things written about are outdated. However, there is beauty in the descriptions of the land, the actors, and the play. The audience is much more criticized, and maybe rightly so, seemingly presenting divided selves to the public and private. Mrs Swithin and Bart are quite likeable, maybe too old to care about society, so focussed ar ...more
Noran Miss Pumkin
I just could not get into it, nor follow the plot line. I like reading vintage, but this one just gave me a headache.
Elin Borg
This os the second book I read by Virginia Woolf. I have for a long time had a dream to sit and enjoy a book of hers. I was surprised by the first book I read how boring it was, "Mrs. Dalloway", but I´m even more surprised by this book. "Between the acts". I begin to think that Woolf spread some kind of sleep dust over her writing, for I fall to sleep after every single page. But I have to praise her way of describing the landscape around her characters.

Sorry world. I can´t stand her writing. I´
...more
Bert
'Between the Acts is een roman die is geobsedeerd door het verleden en de vraag hoe dat is te doorgronden door wie zich geconfronteerd ziet met het vernietigende effect van een oorlog. Een groot deel van het verhaal wordt besteed aan de beschrijving van een dorpstoneelstuk waarin Engelands vervlogen dagen worden gepresenteerd als een soort spotzieke, ironische potpourri, een hutsepot van elizabethaanse dichtkunst, komedie uit de tijd van de restauratie en victoriaans triomfalisme, inclusief verg ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Moments of Readin...: * [General] Between the Acts 2 14 Apr 19, 2013 09:43AM  
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Virginia Woolf: A Biography
  • Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life
  • Aaron's Rod
  • The House in Paris
  • Mrs. Woolf and the Servants: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury
  • The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works
  • The Post-Colonial Studies Reader
  • The Longest Journey
  • Pilgrimage, Volume 1: Pointed Roofs, Backwater, Honeycomb
  • The Return of the Soldier
  • Stories
  • After the Death of Don Juan
  • The Bell
  • Walking in the Shade: Volume Two of My Autobiography--1949-1962
  • Spring and All
  • Christopher Marlowe: Poet & Spy
  • England Made Me
6765
(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

Share This Book

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” 1466 likes
“Often on a wet day I begin counting up; what I've read and what I haven't read.” 210 likes
More quotes…