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''The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.'' Written for her lover Vita Sackville-West, ''Orlando'' is Woolf''s playfully subversive take on a biography, here tracing the fantastical life of Orlando. As the novel spans centuries and continents, gender and identity, we follow Orlando''s adventures in love - from being a lord in the Elizabethan court to a lady in 1920s London.
First published in 1928, this tale of unrivalled imagination and wit quickly became the most famous work of women''s fiction. Sexuality, destiny, independence and desire - all come to the fore in this highly influential novel that heralded a new era in women''s writing.
JACOB''S ROOM, Virginia Woolf''s third novel, marks her first foray into Modernist experimentation. The narrative traces Jacob''s childhood in Cornwall and his education at Cambridge, culminating in an evocative portrait of his adult life in London and abroad. Jacob is romantically torn between the artistic Florinda, the upper-middle-class Clara Durrant and the beautiful, but married, Sandra Wentworth Williams. This tissue of romance, though, is torn apart by the cataclysmic events of the First World War.
Woolf poignantly depicts the life of Jacob through a sequence of alternating perspectives that combine letters, fragments of dialogue and the ephemeral impressions of those nearest to him. Jacob''s voice becomes the absent centre of one of Modernism''s first great novels.
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The young Rachel Vinrance leaves England on her father''s ship, the Euphrosyne, on a voyage to South America. Despite being accompanied by her father and her aunt and uncle, Helen and Ridley Ambrose, the passage leads to Rachel''s awakening, both as a woman and as an individual. As the ship is wracked by storms, she finds herself romantically entangled with Richard Dalloway, an encounter that leaves her troubled and confused.
Upon arrival in Santa Marina, Rachel strikes off alone to contemplate her identity, and finds finds herself with the aspiring novelist Terence Hewet. As the emerging romance between the two is complicated by their disagreements about gender and art, another storm, and tragedy, appear on the horizon.