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Kew Gardens

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  619 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
In 1927, at The Hogarth Press, Virginia Woolf produced and published a limited edition of what was to become one of her best-loved stories. The book's jacket design and page illustrations were by her sister, artist Vanessa Bell.

More than sixty years later, The Hogarth Press at Chatto & Windus has published a lovely facsimile of that prized edition of 'Kew Gardens'.

Hardcover, 123 pages
Published 1978 by Norwood Editions (first published 1919)
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Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Only Woolf can write about ordinary things in such a short story and make you long for more. She easily moves from one subject to another in a natural way. You can imagine Kew Gardens on this summers day. Feel the sun, see the colours of the flowers, subject you to the struggle of the snail to move forward, see and hear the people strolling around. Actually there happens quite of nothing but she makes it look like a great deal. That's the capacity of a really great author.
Mohsin Maqbool
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
WILLIAM Wordsworth loved Nature and proved his love through innumerable poems in his poetry. Similarly, Virginia Woolf too loved Nature and proved her love with alluring descriptive passages in her prose. And mind you, few writers can write the way she does.
You will feel like reading the first paragraph itself from the short story “Kew Gardens” again and again. Yes, it is that beautiful. And I am not exaggerating. Here is living proof of that.
“From the oval-shaped flower-bed there rose perha
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lectures-for-uni
It's incredible how such a short story can make you realise about daily-life stuff. Especially loved the way she described nature. "Yellow and black, pink and snow white, shapes of all these colours, men, women, and children were spotted for a second upon the horizon, and then, seeing the breadth of yellow that lay upon the grass, they wavered and sought shade beneath the trees, dissolving like drops of water in the yellow and green atmosphere, staining it faintly with red and blue."
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-fiction
Interesting: Mother Nature's creatures/forces criss-cross with human visitors... and make for far lovelier writing material than the complicated, arrogant dummies we are.

"But in the man those gestures were irresolute and pointless. He talked almost incessantly. He smiled to himself and again began to talk, as if the smile had been an answer."

Nailed it.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-read
A typical Virginia Woolf short story in which the stream of consciousness technique is masterfully employed. Very poetic with a high level of intricacy.
Vivian Chen (Vivian's Book Pavilion)
This is post originally on Vivian's Book Pavilion Literature Page

The first time I read this story…I had completely no idea what I was reading. It’s so…flat. You read people walking around the garden, telling their past, and a snail moving across a leaf. Besides, I read this story before I even took my first literature lesson, double trouble. But, after I had a discussion with my teacher and classmates, I can’t help but wonder how brilliant and interesting this story was!
Kew Garden was writte
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This beautifully written short story takes place on a summer day in Kew Gardens just outside of London. An example of the descriptive prose, "The petals were voluminous enough to be stirred by the summer breeze, and when they moved, the red, blue and yellow lights passed one over the other, staining an inch of the brown earth beneath with a spot of the most intricate colour." Perhaps I loved this book as it was reminiscent of a lovely day we spent in Kew Gardens.
Opening line: 'From the oval-shaped flower-bed there rose perhaps a hundred stalks spreading into heart-shaped or tongue-shaped leaves half way up and unfurling at the tip red or blue or yellow petals marked with spots of colour raised upon the surface; and from the red, blue or yellow gloom of the throat emerged a straight bar, rough with gold dust and slightly clubbed at the end.'
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a perfect moment of the sublime, a freeze-frame of just a few minutes of the pristine setting of Kew Gardens, London. It is simply incredible of Woolf to contain so much, so much emotion, beautiful imagery and brilliantly developed characters in so few pages. It’s one of those books that you can envisage in the back of your eyelids when you close your eyes mid-way through reading, feeling as if the vivid blue and reds of the flowers are making their beautiful impressions on your mind.

Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Virginia Woolf is a master of observation. She goes from the world about her to the smallest snail struggling along the ground. She discusses time and the occupations she sees. Although it can be seen as a metaphor for writing (like her Haunted Street piece), the idea is to take everything and detail it to make it realistic (as with Joyce's novels). It is nice to read an author who cares so much about the little things, even though they are quite boring in that mundanity.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The snail had now considered every possible method of reaching his goal without going round the dead leaf or climbing over it. Let alone the effort needed for climbing a leaf, he was doubtful whether the thin texture which vibrated with such an alarming crackle when touched even by the tip of his horns would bear his weight; and this determined him finally to creep beneath it, for there was a point where the leaf curved high enough from the ground to admit him."
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bloomsbury
A really enjoyable short story, not so much for the plot but more for the gloriously atmospheric descriptive passages of the hot July afternoon spent by the characters in Kew Gardens. The illustrations by Livi Mills perfectly compliment this new edition (although I am kicking myself for not buying the Vanessa Bell illustrated reprint that came out about 17 years ago!).
Aileen Bernadette Urquhart
Elegant descriptions and lovely little cameos of the strollers.
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story begins by description of the nature. Of the garden. The first couple come. The husband (Simon) is walking ahead. Drowned in his memory. Thinking about the failure marriage proposal. The wife ( Eleanor) is behind. Thinking about a time when she was young and was painting somewhere near the lake. And the first kiss. The whole picture for me shows the loneliness we all, humans in general, are suffering. They're couple with two kids. Married. Supposed to be together and happy. But they are ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
An amazing description and a beautiful writing!
Laila Bourha
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sophistically beautiful.
Charlotte Stevenson
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The word equivalent of a musical soundscape. Not a detailed story, but one that returns to the same spot. Notice the detail in describing the plant life of the botanical garden, the weather and the temperament of the day. Snippets of characters lives and conversations are peered into as they pass the spot where the snail moves slowly across a plant, but never are those conversations explored. As with the doppler effect, they get louder and louder before they pass by completely.

By returning to t
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
honestly i only liked the descriptions of the garden... and since it was an impressionistic piece, it was pretty interesting that Woolf had this "play of light" which is mostly a technique in painting, in her piece.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a story that was written to illustration. I loved it. We sometimes do not recognise and ever are blind to the greatness of things like flowers and parks. We take for granted their colours and their beauty. Well this text does justice to small things. And transform them in text, which gives them their fair due. I think this is a text that deserves to be read. It certainly will not appeal to all. But I'm sure if you like literature, and arts and beauty. You will enjoy this great short stor ...more
Sofie Brånedal
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I like the nature descriptions, very detailed and beautiful. Specially when she described the landscape in front of the snail in a big scale. She fooled me it was a real tree. Through my human eyes it was just a leaf, though not in the eyes of the snail. For such a beautiful and short story it's actually pretty bold in it's topics. I didn't know that the new age movement were a thing back then already, and also arousal for those newly in love. I wanna read more from Virginia Wolf now!
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, university
When you have to read the same book over and over again, work 24/7 on it to do an analisys essay, for a uni subject you don't really enjoy, your consideration and patience for that book starts to shimmer down... yeah.. that. It was good nontheless, and the first perfect read if you want to enter the unique world that is Virginia Woolf.
Rosa Berbel
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Such a lovely story!
Anirban Nanda
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really well written short story to make your day. This story will teach you how ordinary things can be expressed in an extra-ordinary way.
Sidharth Vardhan
4 stars! For a description of random people strolling in a stupid garden and their thoughts!

Well, Woolf is that good.
Gitte Hørning
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
En dansk oversættelse af Virginia Woolfs kortprosa fandtes ikke frem til 2015, hvor der til gengæld kom to forskellige. Annette David oversatte 19 noveller for Forlaget Rosenkilde under titlen ’Sammen og hver for sig’, mens Karsten Sand Iversen oversatte samtlige 46 foreliggende fortællinger for Forlaget Vandkunsten under titlen ’Kew Gardens’. Begge samlinger har navn efter en enkelt tekst i udvalget. Annette David leverer et velkvalificeret forord til Rosenkildes udgivelse, mens hendes noteappa ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Conocida universalmente por sus novelas –entre las que destacan, desde luego, “La señora Dalloway”, “Al faro”, “Orlando” y “Las olas”–, Virginia Woolf también incursionó magistralmente en el cuento, y “Kew Gardens” es un excelente ejemplo de ello (y de lo que a la autora le gustaba denominar “momentos de existencia”).
El famoso jardín botánico de Londres es el pretexto ideal para que Woolf despliegue su inventiva, al presentarnos, en un solo cuadro, diversas imágenes, tal como lo haríamos ante un
Edith Hernández
Quedé fascinada con la narrativa de Virginia transporta, me fascina como logra un cúmulo de pensamientos, con la capacidad de ver los "pequeños" detalles que nos rodean...
Graham Senders
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hold a camera steady, hold the eye and the ear steady.
Catch the humanity
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
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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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