'She always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day' On a June morning in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway is preparing for a party and remembering her past. Elsewhere in London, Septimus Smith is suffering from shell-shock and on the brink of madness. Their days interweave and their lives converge as the party reaches its glittering climax. Here, Virginia Woolf perfected the interior monologue and the novel's lyricism and accessibility have made it one of her most popular works. The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.
Once described as the 'longest and most charming love-letter in literature', the Virginia Woolf's Orlando is edited by Brenda Lyons with an introduction and notes by Sandra M. Gilbert in Penguin Classics. Written for Virginia Woolf's intimate friend, the charismatic writer Vita Sackville-West, Orlando is a playful mock 'biography' of a chameleonic historical figure, immortal and ageless, who changes sex and identity on a whim. First masculine, then feminine, Orlando begins life as a young sixteenth-century nobleman, then gallops through three centuries to end up as a woman writer in Virginia Woolf's own time. A wry commentary on gender roles and modes of history, Orlando is also, in Woolf's own words, a light-hearted 'writer's holiday' which delights in ambiguity and capriciousness.
Tracing the lives of a group of friends, this novel follows their development from childhood to youth and middle age. Separately and together, they query the relationship of past to present, and the meaning of life itself. The author also wrote "The Voyage Out" and "Mrs Dalloway".
'The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye that opened suddenly and softly in the evening' To the Lighthouse is at once a vivid impressionistic depiction of a family holiday, and a meditation on marriage, on parenthood and childhood, on grief, tyranny and bitterness. For years now the Ramsays have spent every summer in their holiday home in Scotland, and they expect these summers will go on forever; but as the First World War looms, the integrity of family and society will be fatally challenged. With a psychologically introspective mode, the use of memory, reminiscence and shifting perspectives gives the novel an intimate, poetic essence, and at the time of publication in 1927 it represented an utter rejection of Victorian and Edwardian literary values. The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.
A Room of One's Own , based on a lecture given at Girton College, Cambridge, is one of the great feminist polemics, ranging in its themes from Jane Austen and Carlotte Bronte to the silent fate of Shakespeare's gifted (imaginary) sister and the effects of poverty and sexual constraint on female creativity. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed A Room of One's Own , you might like Woolf's Orlando , also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Probably the most influential piece of non-fictional writing by a woman in this century' Hermione Lee, Financial Times