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Night and Day

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  6,903 Ratings  ·  369 Reviews
Katharine Hilbery is beautiful and privileged, but uncertain of her future. She must choose between becoming engaged to the oddly prosaic poet William Rodney, and her dangerous attraction to the passionate Ralph Denham. As she struggles to decide, the lives of two other women - women's rights activist Mary Datchet and Katharine's mother, Margaret, struggling to weave toget ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published October 20th 1919)
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Night and Day indeed!

He: would like to write verses comparing her eyes to the stars.
She: would like to take a compass and a ruler and measure the distance between the stars.
He: believes women can only feel and not reason.
She: believes she must renounce a life of reason to satisfy his feelings.

There are several versions of He and She in this book as if Woolf set out to analyse men and women in general and offer us examples, some very diametrically opposed, as in the example above, and some hardly
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Irreverent victorians
Shelves: read-in-2016
London, Early 20thC. Four characters; two men and two women, estranged by their social status but tightly knotted by the invisible strings of their restrained yearnings feature the storyline of this novel.
More traditional in style and form than Woolf’s later and more exploratory works, Night and Day, as the title implies, juxtaposes the struggles of a younger generation to disengage from the corseted legacy of the Victorian era and to find a place in the shifting tides of impending modernity.
Violet wells
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
One way of describing Night and Day might be a comedy of manners without the comedy. Much of the novel takes place in a Victorian drawing room. Katherine Mansfield famously took exception to Woolf’s utter disregard of the war that had recently taken place. And it’s true there’s something distasteful about the relentless vivisection of nuanced sexual emotion that occupies much of this novel. Like Lawrence but without his vitality and flaming insights.

It’s difficult to place exactly when this nov
Petra X
Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
(With apologies to Cole Porter)

Night and day you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me or far it's no matter I struggle to get through you.
By my bedside, in the kitchen
I'm reading you
Day and night, night and day.

Why is it so that this determination to finish you
Nags at me where ever I go
In the roaring traffic's boom, in the silence of my lonely room
I'm gritting my teeth and pressing on with you
Night and day, day and night.

Under the duvet, next to the hob, pulled
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Woolf Fans (& Everyone Else of Course)
Every now and then, when you think you’re having a busy and difficult week, you come across the book. There is an indescribable feeling you get, once you’ve come into contact with such words blended with adroitness, words which add measure to the beat of human thought through a scheme of scenes. How else does one describe the sensation one gets from a book whose author takes such a conventional story, adds psychological potency through inner thought narrative, and makes one fall in love with the ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Cecily by: Dolors
Her words... were set down as gently and cautiously and exactly as the feet of a Persian cat stepping among china ornaments.
Woolf, writing about Katherine, could just as easily have been describing her own novel.

Choices - What does it mean to be a woman today?

Are love and marriage inextricably linked - and what sort of love: platonic, passionate, or both? Can men and women be intimate friends without being sexually intimate, or sexually intimate with someone they are not married to? (When Har
Luís C.
"Night and Day" is Virginia Woolf's second novel. We can find some imperfections, especially in a little too theatrical structure. The characters often take assigned poses, moving like actors on a set, making the scenes somewhat artificial. But already, the softness of the woolfian rhythm makes fly. The slow and incessant oscillations of the waves of her prose carry the reader into this story questioning the sentiment of love. After reading "Mrs Dalloway", "Night and Day" confirms the literary g ...more
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
You love her but she loves him
He loves someone else, you just can't win

J Geils Band, Love Stinks

Night and Day by Virginia Woolf is her second novel and was published in 1919. The story takes place in pre-war England and involves four characters and their relationships. Kathryn Hillbery the "middle class" privileged girl. Ralph Denham the "middle class" lawyer who supports his whole family. William Rodney the mediocre poet and the suffragette, Mary round out the main characters. Also in the mix i
‘There are some books that LIVE’, she mused. ‘They are young with us, and they grow old with us’.

Mrs. Hilbery, of course, is quite right about that. And this was one such book for me, I suspect. At least, I feel now, upon closing it, that it reached the span of my years and, quite unexpectedly, understood me.

The first half was a bit tame to me. There was no narrative to speak of. The characters seemed mere ideas, though with occasional meaningful conversations. This set the scene for the second
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: my every little step set in a star
Recommended to Mariel by: smother me in wild discovery
Something about the truth was in it; how to see the truth is our great chance in this world.

The morning that I finished reading Night and Day I "wrote" a review out loud to my sister. It was better than anything I will ever write on goodreads because it doesn't die when I lose myself. It will be okay because I can make it alive again when something else happens to remind me. It was really a continuation of a conversation we have been having for a long time. We can pick up the thread out of the b
Carol  ꧁꧂
Bailed at 40%.

Clearly this wasn't the best Woolf to start with.

The writing style is very similar to my idol & Woolf's sometime friend Katherine Mansfield. But these beautifully crafted & observed gems are better suited the "slice of life" in the short story format & that is where KM succeeds so well. I've looked up the page count on Woolf's better known works & they are much shorter novels than this, so I'm hopeful they will work for me as well.

But Woolf couldn't make me care ab
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Albeit not as ardent, formidable and consuming as her later works (such as To the Lighthouse or The Waves), and not written in her acknowledged stream of consciousness, Night and Day, Virginia Woolf's second novel, set in Edwardian London and published in 1919, comes as a determined stand on feminism and womanhood, written in a rather Victorian style — quite Brontë-ish, in my opinion, though not as furious and romantic as the three sisters — introducing memorable characters that intertwine in an ...more
What saves this book is the prose and the humor.

Virginia Woolf draws places and people and situations perceptively. You don't merely see them; you feel the atmosphere enveloping people and situations. The reader gets into the heads of the characters; a reader sees each character’s world through their own eyes. No character resembles another; each is an individual with a clear identity. They are all too complicated and way too indecisive to be viewed as mere cut-out figures. With the wide variet
Jo (An Unexpected Bookish Geek)
This book is rather difficult for me to rate and review. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. Virginia Woolf was without a shadow of a doubt, an incredibly talented writer. She writes so beautifully, so that you are not only reading about the events that are unfolding in the story, but you can actually feel the atmosphere. And that, isn't an easy thing to be able to do.
All of the characters are unique. There is no character that is even remotely like the next. The development of these
Melissa Somerton
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Introverts of the world
I just feel so strongly that this novel is highly underated. I am a huge, HUGE Virginia Woolf fan and I love her later work, but I hold a special place for this novel. Straight forward and less cutting edge than her more popular works, but still beautifully crafted. Night and Day explores the inner workings of 4 characters as they try to understand the nature of their relations to others and the clash between the desires of the inner mind and the desire to fit in and do right.

At first glance it
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: romantic neurotics
at first i loved this book--it's crystal clear insight into the heads of 4 different people who are alternatingly in and out of love with each other, and who continuously misunderstand each other. a brain-y 'friends' (don't kill me literati.) also illustrating our fundamental alienation and how we are continuously misreading one another. and lots of good writing.

it's good to read in small bits, and i found myself really identifying with different characters at different times. haha, which now i
Viv JM
2.5 stars, rounded up for the quality of writing.

This book is difficult for me to rate and review. Yes, without a doubt, Woolf was a very talented writer and her prose is beautiful - that is not in dispute. However, for the most part I just found this book extraordinarily dull. It does raise some interesting questions of the value of work versus marriage for young women but at its heart, it is mostly a novel of will they/won't they romance, which is just not my thing. And it is so terribly, terr
With only one Virginia Woolf novel left to read, Night and Day is probably her weakest so far. At first I found it hard to understand why this is often considered her worst book, because it maintained a high quality for a fairly long time, but towards the end I realized that I was falling out of love with it.

To get the negatives out of the way, this is one unnecessarily lengthy book, weakened by too much circular introspection, indecision and empty dialogue, and too many tea parties and changes
I'm going to have a lot of haters after this review.

Yes, yes, it's a Virginia Woolf Classic - got that! Yes, she is a literary goddess and her writing is beautiful. That is not in debate here. HOWEVER, this book kinda sucked! It made me want to crawl out of my skin at times. It dragged. Many times I said, "Enough already!" I know that at times the dragging on was suppose to be comical, but it wasn't funny to me. Maybe as a play I would be able to appreciate the comical aspects, but not as a wor
Nov 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone contemplating marriage
One could easily say that if Woolf had written no more books after VO and Night and Day that she would not have the stature she currently enjoys. That admitted, reading Night and Day is a little like looking at paintings from Picasso's brief period of figural realism. As in VO, Woolf's eye to dissecting the moments of human equivocation is already stunning here, and there are flashes of the poetic sensibility that suddenly appears "fully formed" in her next novel, Jacob's Room. Moonlight and man ...more
This book is a more sociopolitical and also existential version of a Jane Austen novel - a comedy of manners on the surface that in fact explores deeper issues about human relationships and existence. Things are changing during this period in English history, and the old and the new are seen in direct conflict not just between separate individuals but also within singular individuals themselves. Katharine Hilbery is among the latter. She's practical and cynical, but also dreamy and bored and hop ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Night and Day – Virginia Woolf’s second novel is a social comedy and a love story but also a subtle examination of women’s roles. The narrative, like that of The Voyage Out – which I read last year – is much more conventional than her later modernist novels To the Lighthouse, and Mrs Dalloway that I read in January. Although a little over four hundred pages it is a novel with a very simple plot – it is however, the complex, changing relationships between the central characters, which give the no ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura

Description: Set in London before World War I, this novel explores the truth of feelings and particularly the nature of love. It is, in that sense, a love story, but in the hands of Virginia Woolf, it transcends conventional romance to pose a series of crucial questions about women, intellectual freedom, and marriage.

Episode 1: Katherine and Mary are challenged over their assumptions about love, in pre-First World War London. With Kristin Scott Thomas.

Not what I expected at all--which was "Yay! More Mrs. Dalloway!" I should have known better, because this is very early Woolf, and stylistically it is quite different (a straightforward narrative in a "classic comic structure").

Now, I have gripes about this book, but they are hard to explain. It is well-written and beautiful, but I felt a distinct lack of empathy for the main character Katharine, whom I had wanted so much to like. Her personality and circumstances should have resonated with me,
This book seemed endless and it took me so long to read. I assume Woolf was attempting to write a story about finding your true love, rather than marrying who seems appropriate, and sticking it to traditional gender and class norms, yet Night and Day was a bore.

Katherine was unlikable. I has thought she might team up with Mary Datchet and put her mathematical brain to some use in the suffrage movement. However, all Katherine does is internally whine and bemoan her life and does nothing to change
Sarah Porter
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Seriously underrated. This book is totally amazing; I don't think it should be classed as a minor Woolf novel at all. It's true that the really astonishing stuff mostly kicks in in the second half, but you need the contrast provided by the relatively prosaic first half to make it work; and it's true that there are a couple of weird narrative glitches that suggest inadequate editing (roses growing in England at Christmas, and that Katherine knows nothing about Ralph's family after a long scene wh ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-have
... ♥ ...
Mar 13, 2014 marked it as to-finish-later
Setting this aside for now. Night and Day isn't bad, really--it's just not To the Lighthouse or The Waves or Mrs Dalloway or her diaries or any of the other Woolfbooks I would rather read (or reread, in Mrs. D's case) at the moment. I liked The Voyage Out, but if I hadn't already read some of Virginia Woolf's later novels before embarking on a chronological reading of Virginia Woolf's work from the beginning, I would probably just stop here entirely instead of skipping over it to the next one. I ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: british
“Well, I really don't advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married.” (p212) This quote is uttered by Lady Otway, one of the elders in the plot signifying the traditional female point of view. The eponymous night and day contrast signifies many things, but perhaps most readily it signifies the difference between two generations of thought regarding marriage and the woman’s role in society. Other contrasts emerge throughout the plot, including the working class vs. aristocrac ...more
From BBC Radio 4 Extra: 4 Extra Debut
Edwardian novel contrasting the daily lives and romantic attachments of two acquaintances, examining love marriage, happiness and success. With Kristin Scott Thomas.

Episode 1/2:
Katherine and Mary are challenged over their assumptions about love, in pre-First World War London.

Episode 2/2:
Katharine is engaged, but her secret admirer is also in Norfolk, invited by torn suffrage campaigner Mary.

1* The Waves
2* Flush
3* Mrs. D
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
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Women's Classic L...: Week 4: Chapter XXVII- End **spoilers** 15 19 Dec 09, 2016 04:40PM  
Women's Classic L...: * General Discussion and Reading Schedule 19 28 Dec 01, 2016 12:34PM  
Women's Classic L...: * Week 3: Chapters XIX - XXVI 5 9 Nov 28, 2016 05:59AM  
Women's Classic L...: * Week 2: Chapters X-XVIII 17 15 Nov 27, 2016 02:30PM  
Women's Classic L...: * Week 1: Chapters I - IX 20 23 Nov 23, 2016 12:02PM  
Week 4: Chapters XXVII - XXXIV SPOILERS! 1 2 Oct 31, 2016 04:05AM  
Week 3: Chapters XIX-XXVI 1 1 Oct 31, 2016 04:04AM  
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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
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“I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you're everything that exists; the reality of everything.” 411 likes
“What if I told you I’m incapable of tolerating my own heart?” 46 likes
More quotes…