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Melymbrosia: A Novel

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Virginia Woolf completed Melymbrosia in 1912 when she was thirty years old. The story concerned the emotional and sexual awakening of a young Englishwoman traveling abroad, and bristled with social commentary on issues as varied as homosexuality, the suffrage movement, and colonialism. She was warned by colleagues, however, that publishing an outspoken indictment of Britai ...more
Paperback, 372 pages
Published September 27th 2004 by Cleis Press (first published 1981)
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Now, I don't usually write reviews of the books I read (thought maybe I should start?) but after finishing Melymbrosia, I felt that I needed to mention it.

This book is yet another reason why I love Virginia Woolf. It remained in manuscript form for many years after Woolf's death, who chose, upon advice from those around her, to tone down certain themes she had included - feminism, homosexuality, social critique, etc, and mould it into The Voyage Out (1915), and has admirably been put back togeth
Readers familiar with Virginia Woolf’s first published novel, The Voyage Out, often note how peculiar the novel is with its inaccurate depictions of the southern hemisphere and puzzling interactions between characters. Truly, there is something decidedly naive, almost fearful about The Voyage Out that makes it an uncomfortable read. The recently published Melymbrosia, the result of years of scholarship by a Woolf scholar, provides an explanation for why The Voyage Out is the flawed read it is: M ...more
Jeepers, I wish my first drafts of a novel turned out this good. Granted, it is rough — raw in places, and there are things that develop in later drafts that grow from knowledge and time, and so The Voyage Out grew from Melymbrosia as it should have. I can see why VW’s male friends cringed and insisted that she tone it down. (Here is where I must remind readers that it is a book of their time, not ours.) I read it from my size 6 ’s in the 21st century and thought, “Really? That’s pretty tame.” M ...more
Debbie Robson
As I menioned in my blog
Virginia and I go way back. I have read a number of her books including Moments of Being, To the Lighthouse and A Room of One's Own, all a while ago but I don't remember her writing ever being so vivid as in this novel. For instance here is a wonderful passage:
"It was as though the room was instantly flooded with water. After a moment's hesitation first one couple, then another, leapt into midstream and went around and around in th
From all that I had heard of this books' progressive treatment of sexuality, feminism, colonialism, etc I had expected a very different novel. In the past I have admired Woolf's virtuoso skill, but found it hard to really love her staid closed-off-ness here. Subtle she is, depressed obviously, and I can appreciate these qualities, but there is something in her writing that won't really let you in. This story is a preliminary sketch of what would later be published as The Voyage Out. It's roughne ...more
Here we find yet another British novelist (Wilkie Collins, Orwell, Conrad) whose first story is set far beyond the shores of England—in this case, the eastern coast of South America. This is an editorial recreation of the original version of Virginia Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out (1915). I have yet to read the 1915 edition, but the editor, Louise DeSalvo, claims that Melymbrosia contains much more explicit commentary on imperial politics, education, and sex. The final product is a little b ...more
Clearly this version isn't a final version--there are typos and the narrative isn't tight. But holy shit, the biting sarcasm and satire are hilarious.
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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...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“Come, Spirits" she murmured; and was instantly fortified by a sense of the presence of the things that aren't there. There were the beautiful drowned statues, there were the glens and hills of an undiscovered country; there were divine musical notes, which, struck high up in the air, made one's heart beat with delight at the assurance that the world of things that aren't there was splendidly vigorous and far more real than the other. She felt that one never spoke of the things that mattered, but carried them about, until a note of music, or a sentence or a sight, joined hands with them.” 2 likes
“She felt that if only one could begin things at the beginning, one might see more clearly upon what foundations they now rest.” 1 likes
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