The Common Reader Quotes

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The Common Reader The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf
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The Common Reader Quotes Showing 1-30 of 37
“Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty; to go down boldly and bring to light those hidden thoughts which are the most diseased; to conceal nothing; to pretend nothing; if we are ignorant to say so; if we love our friends to let them know it.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness. Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“There is the strange power we have of changing facts by the force of the imagination.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“Every season is likeable, and wet days and fine, red wine and white, company and solitude. Even sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life, can be full of dreams; and the most common actions ― a walk, a talk, solitude in one’s own orchard ― can be enhanced and lit up by the association of the mind. Beauty is everywhere, and beauty is only two finger’s-breadth from goodness.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“It is as if Emily Brontë could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“For beyond the difficulty of communicating oneself, there is the supreme difficulty of being oneself.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“We scarcely want to analyse what we feel to be so large and deeply human.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“There is a sadness at the back of life which some people do not attempt to mitigate. Entirely aware of their own standing in the shadow, and yet alive to every tremor and gleam of existence, there they endure.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“To sit and contemplate - to remember the faces of women without desire, to be pleased by the great deeds of men without envy, to be everything and everywhere in sympathy and yet content to remain where and what you are.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“The journey is everything. Most necessary of all, but rarest good fortune, we should try to find some man of our own sort who will go with us and to whom we can say the first thing that comes into our heads. For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“One does not love a place the less because one has suffered in it.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“Do not dictate to your author; try to become him. Be his fellow-worker and accomplice.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“Habits and customs are a convenience devised for the support of timid natures who dare not allow their souls free play.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“To communicate is our chief business; society and friendship our chief delights; and reading, not to acquire knowledge, not to earn a living, but to extend our intercourse beyond our own time and province.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“Looking upwards, she speculates still more ambitiously upon the nature of the moon, and if the stars are blazing jellies; looking downwards she wonders if the fishes know that the sea is salt; opines that our heads are full of fairies, 'dear to God as we are'; muses whether there are not other worlds than ours, and reflects that the next ship may bring us word of a new one. In short, 'we are in utter darkness'. Meanwhile, what a rapture is thought!”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“To tell the truth about oneself, to discover oneself near at hand, is not easy.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“All extremes are dangerous. It is best to keep in the middle of the road, in the common ruts, however muddy.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“I rejoice to concur with the common reader; for by the common sense of readers, uncorrupted by literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtilty and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally decided all claim to poetical honours.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“For the vision of a novelist is both complex and specialised; complex, because behind his characters and apart from them must stand something stable to which he relates them; specialised because since he is a single person with one sensibility the aspects of life in which he can believe with conviction are strictly limited”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“The writer has us by the hand, forces us along her road, makes us see what she sees, never leaves us for a moment or allows us to forget her. At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Bronte. Remarkable faces, figures of strong outline and gnarled feature have flashed upon us in passing; but it is through her eyes that we have seen them.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“[Shakespeare} the word-coining genius, as if thought plunged into a sea of words and came up dripping”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“For nothing matters except life; and, of course, order.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
tags: life, order
“For ourselves, who are ordinary men and women, let us return thanks to Nature for her bounty by using every one of the senses she has given us.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“...George Eliot makes us share their lives, not in a spirit of condescension or of curiosity, but in a spirit of sympathy. She is no satirist....But she gathers in her large grasp a great bunch of the main elements of human nature and groups them loosely together with a tolerant understanding which, as one finds upon re-reading, has not only kept her figures fresh and free, but has given them an unexpected hold upon our laughter and tears.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“The proper stuff of fiction” does not exist everything is the proper stuff of fiction every feeling every thought every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon no perception comes amiss. And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her as well as honour and love her for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“She was writing for everybody, for nobody, for our age, for her own...”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“One must own that there are certain books which can be read without the mind and without the heart, but still with considerable enjoyment.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“But gradually it comes over us, what then are we being denied? What is it that we are coming to want so persistently that unless we get it instantly we must seek elsewhere? It is solitude. There is no privacy here. Always the door opens and some one comes in. All is shared, made visible, audible, dramatic. Meanwhile, as if tired with company, the mind steals off to muse in solitude; to think, not to act; to comment, not to share; to explore its own darkness, not the bright-lit-up surface of others.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
“The voice of protest is the voice of another and an ancient civilization which seems to have bred in us the instinct to enjoy and fight rather than to suffer and understand.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

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