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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  22 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, 350 pages
Published September 27th 2004 by Cleis Press (first published 1981)
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  168 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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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
J. Watson (aka umberto)
In fact, this book title comes from the last short story preceded by the other four, that is, Phyllis and Rosamond, The Mysterious Case of Miss V., The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn and A Dialogue upon Mount Pentelicus. Each story, I think, should be a good orientation to those other lengthy Virginia Woolf's works. However, I still found her writing amazing here and there. For instance, please read this sentence:

The fifth sister is less marked in character than any of the others; but she marri
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Susan Detlefsen
Reads like unpolished raw material for a novel. Reader can see nascent preoccupation with drowning, and the multi-layered obsession with love, in particular, Sapphic love. Set on a ship, and later in a village somewhere in South America, with river trip.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 4.5

All around I like this even better than The Voyage Out. It is a shame this was not the published version. The first 100 pages are significantly better.....even if much of it is the same. It is sharper and cuts deeper.

There were a few things THO did better. in this version, when Hewitt and Hirst are introduced, they feel thrown into the story, they are not flushed out. As the chapters go by, they grow (and I liked them more). And THO has a little bit better flow overall.

Chapter 19 was the
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pilgrims
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
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favrit, gay-vibez
this is the ~original version of 'voyage out' & it is MUCH BETTER & like austen levels of savage.

also i got to read a sort-of-new woolf novel which i didnt think wld ever happen again so i was well pleased!
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reconstructed version of Virginia Woolf's first novel (using manuscripts from her archival collections -- woo hoo!), which was ultimately reworked into the published The Voyage Out. The plot of both books is pretty identical, and many scenes are duplicated, but the focus on politics and gender, the focus on sexuality, and most of all the more exuberant and less interior character of Rachel make Melymbrosia a different book. Louise Desalvo's archival research and painstaking piecing tog ...more
Rebekah Morgan
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
One of the most honest portrayals of death and what happens to everyone else that I've read. I'm not sure what the other ones on that list are so maybe I should say it is the most honest portrayal I've read.
Rhiannon Grant
Intriguing short stories in which Woolf explores the lives of different women, most of them controlled by others to a greater or lesser extent and in different ways.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Wonderful writing about the dullest damned people on the planet, of any era.
Laura J. W.
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
Definitely not my favorite Woolf novel. It's a quick well written read, and there are parts of it that I really liked, but I most likely won't return to it again. This quote, however, I did enjoy as it reminded me a bit of my relationship with my own mother:

"Then my mother, who cannot be idle even by fire light, winds her wool for her knitting, sitting in the great chair which stands by the cheek of the hearth. When her wool gets tangled she strikes a great blow with the iron rod, and sends the
Debbie Robson
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Mrs. Dalloway, I found this small collection relatively cheap. They are among Woolf's earliest stories and they were generally a pretty enjoyable read. They have a relatively modernist bent to them in that the meaning of the stories seems rather oblique when you reach the end, but a strange sense of foreboding or confusion itches its way into your mind.

The writing is rather finely wrought, but not expansive or majorly engaging. And it's a bit superfluous, as I found that these stor
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, female-author
I liked some of these "snapshots" and found others dull. Either way, I don't get along very well with short stories, so my two stars is not the fault of the writing.

I did like the story of the woman obsessed with researching history of land.
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite authors- I've read many of her novels and essays more than once over the years. But the short pieces in 'Memoirs of a Novelist' were all new to me. And all were delightful.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
a very early woolf, her first novel published posthumously; she reworked it as The Voyage Out. this version has been restored from her archives.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: femme-author, gender
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.
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED each one of these ladies, what a nice quiet read on a gorgeous outdoor afternoon with tea.
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Brain Pain: Discussion - Melymbrosia 1 24 Jan 02, 2016 06:34AM  
  • Mrs. Woolf and the Servants: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury
  • Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life
  • Pilgrimage, Volume 1: Pointed Roofs, Backwater, Honeycomb
  • Leonard Woolf: A Biography
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Prelude
  • Kangaroo
  • The God of Nightmares
  • Violet to Vita: The Letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West, 1910-1921
  • Principles of Literary Criticism (Routledge Classics)
  • The Automatic Message: The Magnetic Fields / The Immaculate Conception
  • Weymouth Sands
  • The Last Post
  • The Blue Estuaries
  • Cathay (1915)
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  • Five Novels
(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 e
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“...I live; I die; the sea comes over me; it's the blue that lasts.” 18 likes
“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.” 4 likes
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