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Between the Acts

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,238 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
In Woolf's last novel, the action takes place on one summer's day in 1939 at Pointz Hall, a country house in the heart of England, where the villagers are presenting their annual pageant.

The book weaves together the musings of several disparate characters and their reactions to the imminence of a war which is to change the pattern of history.
Paperback, Reissue, Oxford World's Classics, 203 pages
Published June 12th 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published 1941)
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The last act.

This is the tenth and last of Virginia Woolf’s novels. Of the other nine, I read the two most famous ones some years ago; the rest I’ve read in the last three months, which makes eight in a row, non-stop.

I feel as if I’ve attended a series of plays, each with a differently decorated set and its own cast of characters but each sharing themes, locations and character types with the others. There are even characters who appear in more than one of the works: Clarissa Dalloway and her h
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk, 2016, reviewed
Fragments of life’s rich pageant

Sharp, witty, vital, brilliant. With Between the acts, Woolf sings an eudaimonic valediction to her readers, and finally, to life, as Woolf was still working on the final revisions when she walked into the Ouse and the novel was published by Leonard Woolf 4 months after her death. Although sometimes perceived as unfinished and jokingly referred to as her ‘Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman’, she gave birth to a full-term child. A full-blown, proficient novel,
Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter

(First edition: The Hogarth Press, 1941. Deisgn: Vanessa Bell)

I am the slave of my audience.

This is Virginia Woolf's ninth and last novel. Much has been written about whether it was really finished and what changes, if any, Virginia Woolf would have made to it, had she survived. Much has also been written about how she felt about it, and whether or not she really wished for it to be published. I would just like to quote the following reflections from Quentin Bell's introduction to the novel, whi
Lynne King
I have a real sense of regret here with this final book of Virginia Woolf. I personally feel that it should not have been published. The poor woman was mentally unwell, perhaps due to the strain of writing this final work? Who knows. Her permisson had not been given to publish it either. Still many other people love this book and that's the main thing.

This is a fascinating individual who wrote the most superb Diaries and Letters. I love them and they are a great source of joy to me.

In conclusion
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
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
Entre os Actos - o último romance de Virginia Woolf, que concluiu mas já não reviu, - foi publicado, pelo seu marido, meses depois do seu suicídio.
É uma obra com uma estrutura original constituída por dois planos narrativos: o romance tradicional no qual, a dado momento, as personagens assistem a uma peça de teatro representada por eles próprios.
As personagens principais são um casal, Isa e Giles, que não sabem se se amam ou se odeiam e cuja sombra da infidelidade, potencial não real, paira sobr
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...
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
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ronald Morton
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(I read over half of this yesterday - so, again, happy birthday Virginia Woolf)

Between the Acts was Virginia Woolf’s final novel, published posthumously following her suicide by drowning. It was written between 1939 and 1940 – the beginning of World War II into the beginning months of The Blitz on London (which Woolf experienced and wrote about in some of her correspondence). Both events weigh heavy on the text, though it is impossible to say how much of her eventual suicide should be read into
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 20th-century, uk
3.5 stars.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
В навечерието на втората световна война В.У. написва книга. Между действията = Между войните = Между антракта = Между отношенията.

Тази книга раказва за една пиеса, която проследява развитието на Англия от малко невинно момиче, което говори с езика на елизабетинската епоха в първо действие, еволюира в езика на викторианската епоха във второ действие, а в трето действие завършва вместо с поклон от актьорите - с огледала срещу публиката. От заглавието до най-незначимото и кратко изречение в съдържа
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't bother with the plot: the plot is nothing.

Between the Acts is Virginia Woolf's last novel. In the introduction, Leonard Woolf explains that Virginia had finished the book, and although some grammar editing was still needed, at the time of her death, she considered it finished. Only obvious errors were corrected.

The story takes place in June 1939 but was written while WWII was being fought. The story opens before the summer pageant and play at Pointz Hall, about a three-hour train ride fro
Simon Robs
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isa Oliver, the Virginia Woolf-like character in "BtA" reflects that "Books are the mirrors of the soul."  And so do plays with mirrors but we'll get to that.  Isa's inner world like the inner world of all human beings if held to mirror would as all Woolf's characters do display clipped and jangled fragments of thought aflight in barn swallow dips and dives between the acts of everyday life.  She's given to poetic flights of fancy to counteract her threadbare and borne acceptancy of matronly mar ...more
Virginia Woolf tries to execute an ambitious concept and, while she’s not entirely successful, she doesn’t fail either. Even though the play within this story doesn’t mesh as flawlessly as I would have liked with the story itself, the ideas that do work, the allusions to war, the exhibit of life’s patterns and human nature show that unmistakeable Virginia Woolf mark of brilliance.

I was going with 3 stars initially, up close it’s easier to notice the imperfections, but looking from a distance I
Not my favorite novel by Woolf—not by a longshot—but as the unanticipated terminus for one of literature’s great oeuvres it strikes an incredibly powerful and poignant note, its deliberate, hard-fought expansiveness resisting any sense of finality or closure (indeed, the end is revealed to be just another beginning). On this reading I was struck with how the novel itself feels positioned at a stylistic juncture, an attempt to fuse together the gorgeously abstracted soliloquies of The Waves with ...more
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woolf, Virginia. BETWEEN THE ACTS. (1941; this ed. 2008). ****. Although I’d have to give the novel itself only three stars, the four star rating applies to this edition which provides an excellent introduction by Melba Cuddy-Keane (University of Toronto) and extensive notes to the text. To give you an idea, the novel itself is only 149 pages long. The introduction is sixty-six pages long, the appended notes take up sixty-two pages. This should give you some idea of the likely obscurity of most ...more
“If we’re left asking questions, isn’t it a failure, as a play? I must say I like to feel sure if I go to the theatre, that I’ve grasped the meaning… Or was that, perhaps, what she meant?”

Third read. (First read in June 2009; second read in November 2009.)

The pleasures of revisiting Woolf are manifold. Years later, I still feel like I never left this novel. I read it twice in 2009 in preparation for my undergraduate thesis, and now, in 2015, I have been happily astonished that it felt so fresh a
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
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Between the Acts was Virginia Woolf’s final novel – published posthumously – it is a novel which remains as she left it when she took her own life in 1941. We will never know what revisions and alterations she might have made.

Taking place on one English summer day in 1939, Between the Acts perfectly re-creates a long June day before the war changes everything for the comfortable upper classes. The war looms large throughout the novel, Virginia Woolf of course writing the book after hostilities h
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Sep 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Jun 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  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.

Jun 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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.
Melody (theliteraryowl)
More like 4.9/5 stars. I really loved this one, Virginia Woolf is quickly becoming my favorite author ever!
Belinda G
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university, 2015
I ended up quite liking Between the Acts, particularly the first half. I didn't enjoy it as much once the pageant began, as I found it a bit hard to follow. Perhaps Virginia would have changed the structure a bit if she'd lived, but since Leonard says she wouldn't have, I don't hold much hope.

What struck me about this particular novel was the amount of quiet desperation in each and every character. This whole book is Woolf being quietly terrified and sad. There are some heartbreaking passages i
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the summer of 1939 and published just before Woolf's death in 1941, the acts that we are between are those of the amateur village theatrical presentation that fills the day in which the book is set, the successive stages of the lives of the central characters, and the two world wars. WWII is only, at this point, in the corner of everyone's consciousness, though Woolf was plainly foreshadowing and her own personal despair was compounded by it in her last couple of years.
The play itself, th
Laura J. W.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. I knew I would...I've held back from reading it because it's the last Virginia Woolf novel that I had left to read...this made me feel terribly sad...even though I can re-read all of them again, it's the loss of "not knowing" and knowing that this is the last one she wrote that made me not read it for so long. The gorgeous, spare images, yet written with a depth that is by no means simplistic caught my imagination, and the beauty of her rhythm...she always gets me thinking. I was ver ...more
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Moments of Readin...: * [General] Between the Acts 2 20 Apr 19, 2013 09:43AM  
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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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