Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Flush: A Biography” as Want to Read:
Flush: A Biography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Flush: A Biography

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,135 ratings  ·  196 reviews
A 'biography' of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's spaniel (1840-54), its direct inspiration was a new edition, in 1930, of the Brownings' love letters in which 'the figure of their dog made me laugh so I couldn't resist making him a Life.'
Paperback, Persephone Books #55, 118 pages
Published 2005 by Persephone (first published 1933)
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 Flush, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Flush

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
..the Victorians loved biographies, especially biographies of the eminent: kings, queens and other distinguished members of society. Flush is the biography of such an eminent Victorian. Or rather Flush is a parody of a biography of an eminent Victorian. We might even say that Flush is a parody of a parody of a biography of an eminent Victorian because Flush is in fact the biography of a dog. But not just any dog, an Eminent Dog, the pure bred Cocker Spaniel belonging to another eminent Victorian ...more
This was too tempting to resist. The great stream-of-consciousness novelist pulls off a “biography” of the beloved dog of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It was a nice trifle, though missing some of the emotional engagement that comes from direct knowledge of the animal by the author.

Flush was a cocker Spaniel who grew up in the country, and then was brought to the London household of Barrett. Their first encounter give you some of the flavor of Woolf’s approach to capturing his exper
Nos seus diários, Virginia Woolf diz que escreveu Flush como forma de um "apaziguado entretenimento", que lhe permitiu descansar do esforço exigido por As Ondas e conceber o romance seguinte - Os Anos.
Talvez por a entrega da autora não ser em pleno, esta leitura não me tivesse deslumbrado. Direi mesmo que, se não tivesse tão presentes na memória e no coração duas das suas obras-primas, pensaria que ler Virginia Woolf não é nada de especial e talvez nem a lesse mais.
No entanto, embora sem o arr
Carmo Santos
Fluxo de consciência em versão canina, para ir entrando de mansinho na escrita de Virgínia Woolf, antes de me atrever a vôos mais altos.

Mesmo tratando-se da biografia de um cão, a autora não deixou escapar a oportunidade de aplicar umas alfinetadas bem humoradas à sociedade inglesa da época; snob e preconceituosa, de apontar o dedo às diferenças abissais entre as condições de vida de ricos e pobres, e ainda ao pouco que se esperava das mulheres e que as relegava para um papel social pouco signif
After completing the groundbreaking experiment The Waves, Woolf “rested” by working on what she considered a mere trifle—a short novel that would eventually become Flush: A Biography, a version of the courtship of poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning as seen through the eyes of their omnipresent cocker spaniel. Using historical facts as a platform, what emerges is a witty and unusual take on one of the most famous real-life romances of all time, and even if it comes off as rather slight w ...more
Kraliçe Victoria döneminin önemli şairlerinden Elizabeth Barrett'in hastalığı ve evinden kaçışında her zaman yanında olan, sahibine enteresan bir şekilde çok benzeyen ve onun can yoldaşı olmak kısa yaşamındaki tek isteği olan Cocker köpeği Flush'ın öyküsünü okuma şanşı elde ediyoruz bu kitapta. Hem de bizzat Flush'ın bakış açısından.

Bu kadar ince düşünülüp işlenmiş bir hikaye de ancak Virginia Woolf tarafından yazılabilirdi. Çünkü küçük detayları tahammül edebileceğinden daha fazla görebilen bir
Ha! So you thought this was a book about a dog?

Nope. It's by Virginia Woolf, so it is really clever social satire: a dog's eye view of Victorian mores, the absurdities of class consciousness, the stultifying life of London ladies (and dogs), the joys of running free in Italy, and the delights of sexual liberation. Of course Woolf has great fun writing from the point of view of one who experiences life as a sequence of vast and varied scents and we get some interesting insights into Elizabeth Bar
Formos prasme "Flašas" - neabejotinai keisčiausia iš visų mano skaitytų biografijų. Dar neteko skaityti žmogaus biografijos, išreikštos per jo šunio gyvenimą. Tikrai netradicinis, bet pasiteisinęs sprendimas.

Woolf rašo gerai, stilius lengvas ir paprastas, nors gal kiek jaučiamas potraukis padaugiažodžiauti ten kur tai daryti nebūtina. Puikiai perteikti vietovių aprašymai - Londono lūšnynai nemaloniai nuteikė net namie, kita vertus Italijos aprašymai grweitai pakėlė ūpą ir norą atostogauti.

'I lay in the garden and read the Browning love letters, and the figure of their dog made me laugh so I couldn't resist making him a Life.'

This is Virginia Woolf’s biography of Flush the pet cocker spaniel of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It tells the story of Flush’s time as a puppy with Mary Mitford before being given to Elizabeth Barrett when she was ill and confined to her rooms in London. He then has to contend with “losing” her to Robert Browning, moving to Italy and witnessing spiritualist
Si tuviera que definirlo con una palabra, sería “engañoso” (en un sentido positivo). Aquello que al principio parece ser la biografía del perro de la poeta Elizabeth Barrett Browning termina siendo su historia de vida, pero a través de los ojos del simpático animalito. Así y todo, Woolf no deja de lado problemas que conciernen tanto al perro como a la Humanidad.

El libro empieza con una aproximación muy linda y muy humorística a los orígenes de la raza cocker spaniel, en donde Woolf, con su fi
Absolutamente maravilloso. Me ha hecho reconciliarme con Virginia. Tiene una capacidad increíble para describir los sentimientos del perro. No sólo se llega a sufrir con y por Flush sino que se llega a quererlo. Pero no es sólo la historia de un perro, es la historia de la época en la que vivió, de los lugares en los que vivió la mayor parte de su vida (tan distintos como Londres y Florencia), es la vida de su dueña, la poeta Elizabeth Barrett, vista desde su punto de vista y, sobre todo, es la ...more
Luís Blue Yorkie
After the mental strain during the composition of The Waves, Virginia Woolf is committed to a simpler book, however, does not abandon the existential questions, which are now presented through the memories of a cocker spaniel.

Flush has biographical value, whether or not containing most of their fictional scenes. The book provides facts of real life of the dog and its owner, the English poet Elizabeth Barrett, who lived in the nineteenth century. The idea of Flush is the result of reading letters
SO FUN. woolf uses this biography of flush (a dog, albeit an impressively complex & well-bred one!) as a vehicle for social commentary, gorgeous language exercises, psychological investigations, existential ramblings, & an indirect biography of said dog's mistress, who happens to be elizabeth barrett browning (I KNOW). excerpts from ebb's letters fill things out nicely. israel & i have a distinct voice for saying "page-turner" because it's such a lame phrase, but i'm going to go ahea ...more

I was surprised to run into “Flush” because I’m fairly acquainted with Woolf’s writing (I’m a huge fan of her Common Readers) but I had never heard much about this one. “Flush” is put out by Persephone Books and like all of their books, is a real gem.

Flush was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel given to her a friend to cheer Miss Barrett up while she lay on her invalid bed doing invalid things. Like writing poetry and reading books and having friends occasionally visit w
It's sort of accidental that I read this immediately after finishing Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out, and it probably wasn't the next best book to pick up. I was so blown away by The Voyage Out that I had hoped Flush would be the same way. And since it's about a dog I thought it was a win-win situation.

Sadly, I felt let down.

This is a biography of Flush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's adorable cocker spaniel. This story is told mostly through the eyes of Flush and tells his adventures from liv
Anca Matrioska
Che carino, stavolta il mio amore per i cani e quello per i romanzi si sono intrecciati nella lettura del libro “Flush – vita di un cane” di Virginia Woolf (sì, quella Virginia Woolf ! J ). Una storia commovente ed avvincente: la vita della poetessa Elizabeth Barrett Browning vista con gli occhi del suo cane Flush, un cocker spaniel.
Per chi ha un cane non sarà difficile immedesimarsi nel romanzo, commuoversi e ritrovarsi in certe situazioni: tutto l’amore che ci regalano incondizionatamente, l’
Maria Carmo
An innovative writer when she lived, Virginia Woolf gives the Reader a glimpse of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's life through the biography of her Spaniel, Flush.
From his early infancy in the farm, to the Writer's house, becoming a witness of the beginning of her relationship to Robert Browning, culminating with the travels to Italy where he will die, this dog lives an adventurous life close to his masters, and therefore being depicted in their letters as well.
The Reader cannot but develop the gre
Andrew Gallina
Want a fun, sweet, and thoroughly enchanting quick read, pick up 'Flush' by Virginia Woolf! It is a true delight from start to finish, and not daunting or heavy at all. In fact, after reading quite a few Woolf novels, this is not only the most accessible, but really the most fun. And Woolf's beautiful writing and descriptions are all here. This would be the perfect place to start for someone new to Woolf. They'll be hooked for sure. In the canon of Woolf's works, 'Flush' seems to be the most ove ...more
Fidel Sánchez Buergo
Valoro muy positivamente ese arte de Woolf de orquestar el pensamiento de todo lo vivo e incluso de lo muerto, de dejar que el lector nade por sensaciones de diversa índole. Pero lo que sobre todo valoro son sus diestras condiciones en el arte de aburrir. Este libro me ha hecho preguntarme muchas cosas ¿Cómo se pueden escribir ciento cincuenta páginas y conseguir que todas y cada una de ellas hagan bostezar?
Desde luego es algo que no está al alcance de cualquiera.
Una vez terminado, no tengo nin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What a delight this little tome is! A 'biography' of sorts dealing in the life of Elizabeth Barret- and Robert Browning, narrated by E's cocker spaniel Flush. I read this in conjunction with a re-reading of Orlando, Woolf's other mock-biography (albeit one with a human as the center of consciousness); they work quite nicely as counterparts, I think, particularly as each is so invested in the politics of writing a life; the problematics of the biography-as-form; also in telling what are probably ...more
Ray Campbell
Abstract art is given tremendous credibility by an artist that has the ability to create a range of realistic work. While Woolf's stream of conscientious work is beautiful, her happy little biography of a Dickens' era Spaniel is delightful. The story is told by an omniscient narrator who tells the story of the life of a small dog who lives with an invalid young woman who gets well, travels, marries and has a child. The emphasis is on what the dog is thinking, feeling and experiencing.

This novel
Love was all; love was enough.

The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spaniel. Beautiful.
Highly recommended for dog owners.
One of my very favorite reads this year. This is a biography of sorts - and a fiction of sorts. It's the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spanial Flush. An absolute charmer. This is one of those volumes that can truly be read in a single setting - it is possessed of a free flowing lyric quality often absent in this writer's more cerebral fictions. Still, this isn't a slight piece by any means, but a richly detailed work of the imagination by one of the great literary minds of the pas ...more
Luciana Darce
Flush – Memórias de um Cão foi o primeiro livro de Virginia Woolf que li, ainda adolescente. Desde então, ele é uma das minhas ‘leituras de conforto’: sempre que estou me sentindo pra baixo, cansada do mundo e da humanidade, ele sai da estante.

Quem conhece a autora de outras obras, provavelmente se surpreenderá com o tom desse livro – muito leve, com um enredo simples, ele é simplesmente adorável. Flush, protagonista dessas memórias, é um cocker spaniel que pertenceu à poetisa Elisabeth Barrett
Gem BookEater
Flush is a cocker Spaniel. When his life first starts he is of course unaware that this affords him a special status amongst dogs. He is content to run and play and love his owner Miss Mary Mitford.
But one day, Mrs Mitford takes him for one of their regular visits to Miss Elizabeth Barrett, and abandons him there. At first he panics but when Miss Barrett returns to her room he settles and gratefully falls in love with her instead.

Virginia Woolf follows Flush and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning throug
Miriam Beizana Vigo
"Flush" es una novela corta de nuestra aclamada y peculiar Virginia Woolf (aquella de 'Las Horas'). También es el nombre del cocker spaniel de Elisabeth Barret, el protagonista por excelencia de este regalo de páginas entrañable y ameno, que cualquier amante de la raza canina sabrá disfruta en sobremanera.

Verídico, o eso se presume, es un relato autobiográfico, vivido desde el hocico y orejas de este inquieto y dispuesto can, que sufre todo tivo de peripecias y dificultades a lo largo de su cort
Woolf seems to have been very interested in biography: in addition to this one she wrote Roger Fry and a parody of biographical writing (Orlando). She was also friends with Lytton Strachey of Eminent Victorians fame. Flush does a good job of imitating and parodying the biographical style. It doesn't so much enter into the mind of a dog; her Flush is really a human consciousness that is unusually interested in smells and rather lacking in understanding of human affairs. Accepting that it is not p ...more
Eliana Rivero
Me agradó la relación entre un perro y los seres humanos, y de la angustia y sacrificios que puede hacer el animal por sus amos, su familia. Sentí que Flush era más humano que todos los demás personajes. También trabaja otros conceptos como la libertad, la felicidad, el racismo y las jerarquías sociales.
Es mi segundo intento con Woolf. La primera vez fue con Las olas, y de verdad no pude terminarlo. Lo intentaré leer de nuevo.
A "biography" of the dog owned by Elizabeth Barrett prior to and during her marriage to Robert Browning.

I had to skip a bunch in the middle when Flush is kidnapped for ransom by London thugs because I cannot bear to read about anything bad happening to a dog. But Flush is recovered, and gets to live in Florence, so it's all good.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
easy read classic...: Flush 4 12 Nov 26, 2012 11:13AM  
  • The Wise Virgins
  • Greenery Street
  • The Crowded Street
  • Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary
  • Journal of Katherine Mansfield
  • Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
  • Someone at a Distance
  • The Fortnight in September
  • Tea with Mr. Rochester
  • Kitchen Essays
  • Fidelity
  • William - An Englishman
  • The Village
  • Consequences
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Mariana
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Lady into Fox
(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

Share This Book

“Twice Flush had done his utmost to kill his enemy; twice he had failed. And why had he failed, he asked himself? Because he loved Miss Barrett. Looking up at her from under his eyebrows as she lay, severe and silent on the sofa, he knew that he must love her for ever. Things are not simple but complex. If he bit Mr. Browning he bit her too. Hatred is not hatred; hatred is also love.” 7 likes
“As for describing the smell of a spaniel mixed with the smell of torches, laurels, incense, banners, wax candles and a garland of rose leaves crushed by a satin heel that has been laid up in camphor, perhaps Shakespeare, had he paused in the middle of writing Antony and Cleopatra — But Shakespeare did not pause. Confessing our inadequacy, then, we can but note that to Flush Italy, in these the fullest, the freest, the happiest years of his life, meant mainly a succession of smells. Love, it must be supposed, was gradually losing its appeal. Smell remained. Now that they were established in Casa Guidi again, all had their avocations. Mr. Browning wrote regularly in one room; Mrs. Browning wrote regularly in another. The baby played in the nursery. But Flush wandered off into the streets of Florence to enjoy the rapture of smell. He threaded his path through main streets and back streets, through squares and alleys, by smell. He nosed his way from smell to smell; the rough, the smooth, the dark, the golden. He went in and out, up and down, where they beat brass, where they bake bread, where the women sit combing their hair, where the bird-cages are piled high on the causeway, where the wine spills itself in dark red stains on the pavement, where leather smells and harness and garlic, where cloth is beaten, where vine leaves tremble, where men sit and drink and spit and dice — he ran in and out, always with his nose to the ground, drinking in the essence; or with his nose in the air vibrating with the aroma. He slept in this hot patch of sun — how sun made the stone reek! he sought that tunnel of shade — how acid shade made the stone smell! He devoured whole bunches of ripe grapes largely because of their purple smell; he chewed and spat out whatever tough relic of goat or macaroni the Italian housewife had thrown from the balcony — goat and macaroni were raucous smells, crimson smells. He followed the swooning sweetness of incense into the violet intricacies of dark cathedrals; and, sniffing, tried to lap the gold on the window- stained tomb. Nor was his sense of touch much less acute. He knew Florence in its marmoreal smoothness and in its gritty and cobbled roughness. Hoary folds of drapery, smooth fingers and feet of stone received the lick of his tongue, the quiver of his shivering snout. Upon the infinitely sensitive pads of his feet he took the clear stamp of proud Latin inscriptions. In short, he knew Florence as no human being has ever known it; as Ruskin never knew it or George Eliot either.” 5 likes
More quotes…