The Waves by Virginia Woolf

64%

7 Critic Reviews

Woolf was lucky to be taken up by feminists, because otherwise her hypersensitivity can easily devolve into inert solipsism, not to mention elitism.
-http://www.berkshirereview.net

Synopsis

One of Woolf’s most experimental novels, The Waves presents six characters in monologue - from morning until night, from childhood into old age - against a background of the sea. The result is a glorious chorus of voices that exists not to remark on the passing of events but to celebrate the connection between its various individual parts.
 

About Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf was born in London, the daughter of the prominent literary critic Leslie Stephen. She never received a formal university education; her early education was obtained at home through her parents and governesses. After death of her father in 1904, her family moved to Bloomsbury, where they formed the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of philosophers, writers and artists. As a writer, Woolf was a great experimenter. She scorned the traditional narrative form and turned to expressionism as a means of telling her story. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927), her two generally acknowledged masterpieces, are stream-of-consciousness novels in which most of the action and conflict occur beneath a surface of social decorum. Mrs. Dalloway, set in London shortly after the end of World War I, takes place on a summer's day of no particular significance, except that intense emotion, insanity, and death intrude.To the Lighthouse's long first and third sections, each of which concerns one day 10 years apart, of the same family's summer holidays, are separated and connected by a lyrical short section during which the war occurs, several members of the family die, and decay and corruption run rampant. Orlando (1928) is the chronological life story of a person who begins as an Elizabethan gentleman and ends as a lady of the twentieth century; Woolf's friend, Victoria Sackville-West, served as the principal model for the multiple personalities. (The book was made into a movie in 1993.) Flush (1933) is a dog's soliloquy that, by indirection, recounts the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their elopement and life in Florence. Her last short novel, Between the Acts (1941), was left without her final revision, but it is, nonetheless, a major representation of a society on the verge of collapse. Having had periods of depression throughout her life and fearing a final mental breakdown from which she might not recover, Woolf drowned herself in 1941. Her husband published part of her farewell letter to deny that she had taken her life because she could not face the terrible times of war. Leonard Woolf also edited A Writer's Diary (1953), which provides valuable insights into his wife's private thoughts and literary development. Equally informative are his own autobiographies, particularly Beginning Again and Downhill All the Way (1967), and The Letters of Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey . Virginia Woolf's Granite and Rainbow contains 27 essays on the art of fiction and biography. There are many sidelights on Woolf in the writings, letters, and biographies of other members of her Bloomsbury circle, such as Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes (see Vol. 3), and Lytton Strachey (see Vol. 3). Also casting much light on her life, thought, and creative processes are The Common Reader (1925), The Second Common Reader (1933), A Room of One's Own (1929), Three Guineas (1938), The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), and various collections of her autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters. In addition, in recent years there has been a veritable industry of writers dealing with Woolf and her work.
 
Published January 1, 1950 by Mariner Books. 177 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Education & Reference, Horror, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Waves
All: 7 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Good
on Dec 04 2006

Waves is about the very act of creativity itself, the tools we use to make art and the self we sacrifice to do it, and if it is sometimes painful - well, birth is seldom easy.

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Guardian

Below average
on Nov 17 2006

Woolf's novel leaves me cold: I don't share her disdain for what she calls the "nondescript cottonwool" of everyday life and I find it difficult to care for the privileged despair of her characters when the wider European world was falling apart.

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Guardian

Good
on Nov 11 2006

As I worked on the material with dancers and actors, the themes began to fascinate me - identity, friendship, time and death.

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Suite 101

Good
on Sep 28 2008

A beautifully abstract stream of consciousness novel, The Waves delves into the realm of phenomenology and ultimately reflects upon language's infinite possibilities.

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Project MUSE

Good

Bold, challenging, yet affecting.

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ReadySteadyBook

Above average
on Nov 20 2006

I don't think characterisation is that important. Not at all, in fact. And Woolf's 1931 novel The Waves (and all of the Woolf novels I've recently read) has allowed me to think about this aspect of the novel again.

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http://www.berkshirereview.net

Below average
on Aug 23 2008

Woolf was lucky to be taken up by feminists, because otherwise her hypersensitivity can easily devolve into inert solipsism, not to mention elitism.

Read Full Review of The Waves

Reader Rating for The Waves
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