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Virginia Woolf
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message 1: by Judy (last edited Oct 21, 2017 12:16PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
One of the greatest 20th century authors and a key member of the Bloomsbury group... her most famous books include Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and A Room of One's Own. Are you an admirer and which are your favourite books by Woolf?

Virginia Woolf


message 2: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 16 comments I would not call myself “an admirer” now but I went through my VIrginia Woolf phase in my 30s. I read The Letters and The Diaries as well as five or six novels and of course, the book I remember as my favorite then, Moments of Being. Now I like rereading her essays, especially her literary criticism in The Common Reader.


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 420 comments I've read only a few of hers- Mrs D had my mind in a whirl and To the Lighthouse, I've read but don't really remember what I thought of. Flush I very much enjoyed.

Of her essays I have read the Common Reader which I liked and have the Second Common Reader on my TBR>


message 4: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5308 comments Mod
I love Orlando, Night & Day, and Mrs Dalloway. I just finished The Voyage Out and was so-so about it - it definitely feels like a first novel.

The diaries are wonderful, I think - definitely on my re-read list.


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 420 comments LindaH wrote: "I would not call myself “an admirer” now but I went through my VIrginia Woolf phase in my 30s. I read The Letters and The Diaries as well as five or six novels and of course, the book I remember as..."

Must get my hands on teh diaries as well- nice to see you here Linda!


message 6: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (bibliohound) | 521 comments I have only read To the Lighthouse and did not like it at all. However, a friend who knows me well gave me Orlando and assures me I will enjoy that one much more.


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
Must admit I'd forgotten about Orlando - I got mixed up and thought it was by Vita Sackville-West, but of course the link with her was that she provided inspiration for the central character.


message 8: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 146 comments Roman Clodia wrote: "I love Orlando, Night & Day, and Mrs Dalloway. I just finished The Voyage Out and was so-so about it - it definitely feels like a first novel.

The diaries are wonderful, I think - definitely on m..."


I need to read her journals as well as her diaries. She certainly was a very prolific writer. Admirable in every way! Hopefully we will encounter her works once in a while in this reading group?


message 9: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 746 comments I have read and enjoyed most of the novels and short stories, but I'm not sure I can claim to have understood them very well, particularly The Waves and To The Lighthouse. I rather liked her early novels (The Voyage Out and Jacob's Room).


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
I feel much the same, Hugh, don't worry!


message 11: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 146 comments Her works are more in the realm of transcendence.....


message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
One of her earliest novels, Night and Day, is different from the others because it is more traditional narration, not stream of consciousness. Although not one of her greatest, it's a very interesting look at the lives of two Edwardian women in London.


message 13: by LindaH (new)

LindaH | 16 comments Lady Clementina! Nice to see you too. I’ll be interested in your thoughts about the Letters and Diaries.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
I think there is something fascinating about the Bloomsbury Set though. I do enjoy reading books about Woolf, as well as by her.


message 15: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 746 comments Judy wrote: "One of her earliest novels, Night and Day, is different from the others because it is more traditional narration, not stream of consciousness. Although not one of her greatest, it's a..."
The Voyage Out is largely a traditional narrative, but you would expect that of a first novel. She did go back to a more narrative approach with The Years, and you could argue that Orlando has a fairly strong narrative core.


message 16: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 52 comments I love her diaries, letters and essays but can't get on with the novels I'm afraid. I'm also fascinated by the Bloomsbury set and particularly enjoy Quentin Bell's books.


message 17: by Ivan (last edited Nov 09, 2017 11:12AM) (new)

Ivan | 88 comments Like so many others I find myself fascinated by the Bloomsbury Group.  I’ve watched various films and read books both by and about them.  Regarding Virginia Woolf:  I read The Voyage Out so long ago that any opinion I had of it has become one with the detritus of my overcrowded memory.  I read Flush and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I made several attempts at Mrs. Dalloway before achieving success.  I remember having to really concentrate and read it in as few sittings as possible so that I didn’t lose the rhythm of the stream of consciousness – and I came away with a fondness for the story which I recall vividly these many years later.  To the Lighthouse I’ve attempted three times without success.  Someone posted that they had watched the film and then read the book and that this helped them – since they knew the story they could concentrate on the physical writing of the novel and it allowed them to follow with more clarity.  Perhaps I’ll try that.  Presently I’m reading Orlando and rather adore it.  The writing is bravura and proves Woolf an artist of genius.  Her writing is challenging, unique and rewarding.  It’s taken me a short while to read (not quite done yet).  It fascinates me that the titular character was inspired by Vita Sackville-West.  I’ve recently read four or five books by Vita and think she’s an enormously talented writer (especially All Passion Spent), so imagine my surprise to read this on Wikipedia:   

"The picture of Sackville-West that Woolf presented as her alter-ego Orlando was not completely positive as Woolf felt only contempt for Sackville-West’s literacy abilities, regarding her as a mediocre writer as she wrote to her husband Leonard Woolf "she writes with a pen of brass".

I wonder how much of her opinion is shaded by her personal feelings for Vita; it must have burned her ass like a three foot flame that a writer she held in only medium esteem produced numerous best sellers while her own work, though critically lauded, rarely achieved the same level of popular success.  


message 18: by Nigeyb (last edited Nov 09, 2017 11:01AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9981 comments Mod
Thanks Ivan - a timely and welcome post, especially as it looks as though Mrs. Dalloway will be our first group read in Jan 2018.

I've tried a couple of times with it and really didn't like what I sampled, so reading this comment....

Ivan wrote: "....I made several attempts at Mrs. Dalloway before achieving success. I remember having to really concentrate and read it in as few sittings as possible so that I didn’t lose the rhythm of the stream of consciousness – and I came away with a fondness for the story which I recall vividly these many years later"

...gives me hope that a breakthrough is possible. Hurrah.

By the way, for anyone with limited time, looking for a fair idea of what Mrs. Dalloway is like, here's the wonderful John Crace and his always fab "digested read" in podcast format....

https://www.theguardian.com/books/aud...


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
One of our members has suggested a future Buddy Read: Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee

This is a very long book, so we are intending to read it over ten weeks, beginning in February and reading four chapters a week. This will be an additional Buddy Read, but members are welcome to join in - or, indeed, to read a different biography of Virginia Woolf alongside this one.

Thanks for the suggestion to Roman Clodia.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
If we are to embark on a mammoth Woolf biography next year (and this one has some great reviews), I wondered which books about her, or the Bloomsbury set, anyone would recommend? I have read Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell by Jane Dunn which I enjoyed. However, I do remember thinking, at the time, that Virginia was much the most interesting character and I wanted to know more about her. That was odd, as I have only dipped my toes in her fiction and struggled with what I have read. Yet, many readers seem to have an obsession about her - she often comes up in interviews with authors, for example. Do we have any Woolf obsessives here, who wish to wax lyrical about her work - especially with Mrs Dalloway as a forthcoming read?


message 21: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
Goodreads just came up with a recommendation for me of Mrs. Dalloway's Party: A Short Story Sequence I'm not quite sure what this is - it looks as if it is a series of short stories/sequences which were left out of the novel. Might be good for anyone who loves our forthcoming group read and wants more of the same.

Mrs. Dalloway's Party A Short Story Sequence by Virginia Woolf


message 22: by Brina (new)

Brina I just became an admirer today. Read A Room of One's Own and loved it. Will try to join in on the group read next month but I have a lot planned.


message 23: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1241 comments Have started reading Mrs. Dalloway - this is my third attempt. Hope to succeed this time.

There is also a The Mrs. Dalloway Reader.


message 24: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 67 comments Great indication Jan C! Francine Prose is a good literary critic. I will put the book in one of my TBR list. I’m also beginning the reading of Mrs. Dalloway. I’m tempted to follow this reading with the V. Woolf bibliography (it seems very good). I’m not sure, though, if I can copy with this reading schedule. Let’s see...


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
I am not sure any of us will cope with this reading schedule, but I am willing to give it a try! If people want to read the Virginia Woolf biography and need to take longer, then please do join in. The discussion thread will stay open.


message 26: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 67 comments Ok Susan, I will try. First I have to grab the book, because there is no kindle version.


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
I have it on kindle, sorry to hear it is not available where you are. We are not starting until next Feb, Marcus. Join in if you can - we'd love to have you read along :) Plus anyone else, obviously!


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
A couple of us have decided to fit an extra Buddy Read into the month of December. The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year that Changed Literature The World Broke in Two Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year that Changed Literature by Bill Goldstein is about, not only Virginia Woolf, but also T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence and E.M. Forster. It is set during the time that Woolf started Mrs. Dalloway Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf which is, obviously, our next month group read. If anyone wants to join in with this book, at any time, the discussion will remain open.

Some book blurb:

A revelatory narrative charting the lives and works of legendary authors Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence during 1922, the birth year of modernism

'The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts,' the American author Willa Cather once wrote. Yet for Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence, 1922 began with a frighteningly blank page. Eliot was in Switzerland recovering from a nervous breakdown. Forster was grappling with unrequited love. Woolf and Lawrence, meanwhile, were both in bed with the flu. Confronting illness, personal problems and the spectral ghost of World War I, all four felt literally at a loss for words.

As dismal as things seemed, 1922 turned out to be a year of outstanding creative renaissance for them all. By the end of the year Woolf had started Mrs Dalloway, Forster had returned to work on A Passage to India, Lawrence had written his heavily autobiographical novel Kangaroo, and Eliot had finished - and published to great acclaim - 'The Waste Land'.

Full of surprising insights and original research, Bill Goldstein's The World Broke in Two chronicles the intertwined lives and works of these four writers in a crucial year of change.


message 29: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9981 comments Mod
Back in 2014 I went to visit Monk's House, Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat which is nestled in the heart of rural Sussex. Monk’s House is a tranquil 17th-century weatherboarded cottage inhabited by Leonard and the novelist Virginia Woolf from 1919 until Leonards death in 1969.

The house is jam packed with character and the spirit of not just Leonard and Virginia but also the many artists, writers and thinkers who visited Monk's House.

Leonard Woolf was a keen gardener whilst Virginia took much inspiration from the garden for her works. Virginia's famous writing room is at the bottom of the garden and offers the perfect tranquil spot in which to write.

Monk's House: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat
Monk's House: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat
Monk's House: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat
Monk's House: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat
Monk's House: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat
Monk's House: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat


message 30: by Roman Clodia (last edited Dec 08, 2017 03:37AM) (new)

Roman Clodia | 5308 comments Mod
Fascinating! The Woolfs do seem to have a way of impacting on their environments: the Gordon Square house in Bloomsbury is now part of the University of London, as is Maynard Keynes' house a few doors down - they're knocked into one now, and what was the Keynes library is used for literature conferences, book launches and other social events so I've been there many a time.

VW apparently used to go down into the kitchens which were in the basement so staff using the teaching rooms there like to think her spirit approves of women reading and discussing her books there!


message 31: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 88 comments Nigeyb wrote: "Back in 2014 I went to visit Monk's House, Leonard and Virginia Woolf's 17th-century country retreat which is nestled in the heart of rural Sussex. Monk’s House is a tranquil 17th-century weatherbo..."

Oh, you don't know what you've done posting these photographs and reminiscences. This is on my bucket list - to visit Monk's House, Charleston Farmhouse, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Garsington Manor, the Gordon Square house...and other Bloomsbury sites. I even downloaded pictures of all these places and posted them on my Facebook page.

So what am I doing to make this travel dream come true? I'm travelling vicariously to the fictional Garsington Manor as depicted in Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley. I've read the first two chapters and I find it both amusing and diverting (Mrs. Smiling would say it has to be either or, but both?).


message 32: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9981 comments Mod
Wonderful Ivan


I also live quite close to Charleston Farmhouse and have been there many times - a really enjoyable place to visit


message 33: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9981 comments Mod
It's also blimmin' freezing in England at the moment. Pack your thermals.


message 34: by Ivan (last edited Dec 09, 2017 07:28AM) (new)

Ivan | 88 comments My friend Edel lives in Ballyshannon, County Donegal. I want to visit so bad - she posts pictures of Sligo Town, Benbulbin, Glenveagh Castle, Glencar Waterfall and Lissadell House (where Yeats is buried). What a trip this would be - a Bloomsbury week and then a Donegal week. Ah, if only I had money (and gumption).


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
It certainly is cold here. Have just been to a local Christmas Fayre though, complete with roasting Chestnuts, lots of little stalls and all sorts of festivities. Really lovely, but it was SO cold and dark already at half three...


message 36: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 332 comments Yes it's freezing and snowing, both our our Christmas trees are just about finished, tinsel everywhere....its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Based on the forecast we'll are be CtB tomorrow, so quite reading day.


message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
Sadly, not for me, Michael. Have a crazy week next week, but looking forward to some rest time over Christmas - and reading time of course :)


message 38: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 88 comments Nigeyb wrote: "It's also blimmin' freezing in England at the moment. Pack your thermals."

What's a thermal? This is Florida and it's in the 40s today - you should see the people shiver and shake in their shorts and flip-flops - we don't really know from cold. A few years back I flew up to New York City in March and met an old friend (RIP Eleanor) and we got off the hotel elevator and I looked outside and stopped dead in my tracks - she lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains, she wanted to know what was wrong - "is that SNOW??? Literal snow - on the ground???" I hadn't seen snow in 30+ years. Lordy, it was cold. Then I rode a boat to the Statue of Liberty and people kept opening the door and going out on deck and the whole time I was plotting their deaths...hehehe. Still, it was a lovely trip and a lovely memory for me of my last physical encounter with my very dearest friend (and now I'm typing through tears).


message 39: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1241 comments My brother in San Antonio told me on Thursday that they had snow there. It was gone by noon the next day.

It started snowing here about 9 a.m. Friday and didn't stop until about 11 this morning. Then the sun came out and much of it is melted. A couple of kids and their fathers built a snowman in the back this morning as the snow was tapering off. Probably be melted by tomorrow. We'll be in 40s-50s in the next two days.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
We had snow this morning and now it's raining. Sorry to be grumpy, but I hope it melts, as I have a busy week next week and trains in London don't need much excuse to go haywire!

A Writer's Diary 49p on kindle today.


message 41: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
Ooh, thanks for A Writer's Diary, Susan - definitely a bargain for 49p.

By Virginia and edited by Leonard, which reminds me, any fans of Leonard Woolf's work here? I do have a book by him in a Persephone paperback, The Wise Virgins, but it's one of my pile of unread books!


message 42: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5308 comments Mod
I agree, snow in London is a nightmare: less than an inch settled where I am and half the tube lines are suspended...!

Yes, thanks from me too, Susan, for the Woolf - I have her full diaries in hard-copy but delighted to have a selection on Kindle too.


message 43: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
I'm halfway through Mrs Dalloway now and really loving it - I can hardly believe I've never read it before. Can't wait for our discussion.

I've read quite a few books by Woolf but there are still several I'm missing, so hope to go on and read those soon too.


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
Me too, Judy. I struggled with it as I recall, so I am so pleased I re-read it. Perhaps Roman Clodia and I can tempt you to join in with the Hermione Lee biography next month?


message 45: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
Glad you loved it too, Susan. I've already read the Hermione Lee biography, and as it is so massively long am reluctant to reread, although I did enjoy it.

But I will still be chipping into the discussion and will hopefully read another book about Woolf alongside you. (Haven't decided which one yet!)


message 46: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 420 comments Judy wrote: "Glad you loved it too, Susan. I've already read the Hermione Lee biography, and as it is so massively long am reluctant to reread, although I did enjoy it.

But I will still be chipping into the di..."


Mrs D was interesting- kind of had my mind in a whirl really.


message 47: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "Glad you loved it too, Susan. I've already read the Hermione Lee biography, and as it is so massively long am reluctant to reread, although I did enjoy it.

But I will still be chipping into the di..."


Forgot you had read it, Judy, sorry about that. Looking forward to the Mrs D discussion.


message 48: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4616 comments Mod
It's hard enough to keep track of what we've all read ourselves, Susan, without trying to remember what others have read too. :)


message 49: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10171 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "It's hard enough to keep track of what we've all read ourselves, Susan, without trying to remember what others have read too. :)"

Very true :)


message 50: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5308 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "I've read quite a few books by Woolf but there are still several I'm missing, so hope to go on and read those soon too."

I'm definitely up for more Woolf, maybe as buddy reads later on? I'm delighted people are enjoying Dalloway -I'm just about to start it (re-read).


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