Freedom and enfranchisement. Something anarchical which pushes at boundaries. The sweetness of leisure time. Each of these rich avenues of meaning are bound up in the word 'liberty' and are explored here in varied pieces by one of the most ground-breaking writers of the last century. Whether via the passionate feminist polemic of A Room of One's Own, the experimental narrative of her fiction, or a whimsical account of roaming the streets of London, Virginia Woolf's writing will set your thoughts at liberty.
Selected from the books A Room of One's Own, The Waves and Street Haunting and Other Essays by Virginia Woolf
VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.
Also in the Vintage Minis series:
Calm by Tim Parks
Summer by Laurie Lee
Eating by Nigella Lawson
Race by Toni Morrison
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HELEN DUNMORE
As his tale begins, Orlando is a passionate young nobleman whose days are spent in rowdy revelry, filled with the colourful delights of Queen Elizabeth's court. By the close, he will have transformed into a modern, 36-year-old woman and three centuries will have passed. Orlando will not only witness the making of history from its edge, but will find that his unique position as a woman who knows what it is to be a man will give him insight into matters of the heart.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SUSAN HILL
The Years follows the lives of the Pargiters, a large middle-class London family, from an uncertain spring in 1880 to a party on a summer evening in the 1930s. We see them each endure and remember heart-break, loss, radical change and stifling conformity, marriage and regret. Written in 1937, this was the most popular of Virginia Woolf's novels during her lifetime, and is a powerful indictment of 'Victorianism' and its values.
Mr and Mrs Ramsay and their eight children have always holidayed at their summer house in Skye, surrounded by family friends. The novel's opening section teems with the noise, complications, bruised emotions, joys and quiet tragedies of everyday family life that might go on forever. But time passes, bringing with it war and death, and the summer home stands empty until one day, many years later, when the family return to make the long-postponed visit to the lighthouse.
One of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century, To the Lighthouse is at once an intensely autobiographical and universally moving masterpiece.
'Sally stopped; picked a flower; kissed her on the lips.'
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 in Woolf's great novel of time, memory, war and the city.
A new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.
'Things are not simple but complex. If he bit Mr. Browning he bit her too. Hatred is not hatred; hatred is also love.'
Virginia Woolf's delightful biography of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning's spaniel, which asks what it means to be human - and to be dog.
One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
In Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf explores the events of one day, impression by impression, minute by minute, as Clarissa Dalloway's and Septimus Smith's worlds look set to collide - this classic novel is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.
'She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.'
On a June morning in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway, the glittering wife of a Member of Parliament, is preparing for a party she is giving that evening. As she walks through London, buying flowers, observing life, her thoughts are of the past and she remembers the time when she was as young as her own daughter Elizabeth, her romance with Peter Walsh, now recently returned from India; and the friends of her youth. Elsewhere in London Septimus Smith is being driven mad by shell shock. As the day draws to its end, his world and Clarissa's collide in unexpected ways.
In Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf explored the events of one day, impression by impression, minute by minute, and recorded the feel of life itself.
'One of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century' Michael Cunningham
'Woolf is Modern. She feels close to us.' Jeanette Winterson
Born in 1882, Virginia Woolf was the daughter of the editor and critic Leslie Stephen, and suffered a traumatic adolescence after the deaths of her mother, in 1895, and her step-sister Stella, in 1897, leaving her subject to breakdowns for the rest of her life. With her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, she was drawn into the company of writers and artists such as Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, later known as the Bloomsbury Group. Among them she met Leonard Woolf, whom she married in 1912, and together they founded the Hogarth Press in 1917. Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and her major novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925), the historical fantasy Orlando (1928), written for Vita Sackville-West, the extraordinarily poetic vision of The Waves (1931), and Between the Acts (1941). Woolf lived an energetic life, reviewing and writing and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.
To mark the publication of Stop What You're Doing and Read This!, a collection of essays celebrating reading, Vintage Classics are releasing 12 limited edition themed ebook 'bundles', to tempt readers to discover and rediscover great books.
Dorothea is bright, beautiful and rebellious and has married the wrong man. Lydgate is the ambitious new doctor in town and has married the wrong woman. Both of them long to make a positive difference in the world. But their stories do not proceed as expected and both they, and the other inhabitants of Middlemarch, must struggle to reconcile themselves to their fates and find their places in the world.
Middlemarch contains all of life: the rich and the poor, the conventional and the radical, literature and science, politics and romance. Eliot's novel is a stunningly compelling insight into the human struggle to find contentment.
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
The serene and maternal Mrs Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr Ramsay, together with their children and assorted guests, are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse Virginia Woolf constructs a remarkable and moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life, and the conflict between male and female principles.
The Penguin Collection offers the perfect introduction to the world of Penguin Books. Ever since the first Penguin paperbacks were published in 1935 by Allen Lane, who claimed 'good design costs no more than bad', their distinctive cover look has become a style icon. Now the original design is loved by a whole new generation, and Penguin is still committed to making the best books in every genre available to readers all over the world.
The Common Reader is a compilation of twenty-five witty, charming essays on such diverse subjects as Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Joseph Conrad and the Classical Greek dramatists. In her first collected writings, Virginia Woolf guides the 'common reader' through the joys and power of the written word through the ages, with wisdom, humour and understanding.
With this sixth volume The Hogarth Press completes a major literary undertaking - the publication of the complete essays of Virginia Woolf. In this, the last decade of her life, Woolf wrote distinguished literary essays on Turgenev, Goldsmith, Congreve, Gibbon and Horace Walpole. In addition, there are a number of more political essays, such as 'Why Art To-Day Follows Politics', 'Women Must Weep' (a cut-down version of Three Guineas and never before reprinted), 'Royalty' (rejected by Picture Post in 1939 as 'an attack on the Royal family, and on the institution of kingship in this country'), 'Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid', and even 'America, which I Have Never Seen...' ('['Americans are] the most interesting people in the world - they face the future, not the past'). In 'The Leaning Tower' (1940), Virginia Woolf faced the future and looked forward to a more democratic post-war age: 'will there be no more towers and no more classes and shall we stand, without hedges between us, on the common ground?' Woolf stimulates her readers to think for themselves, so she 'never forges manifestos, issues guidelines, or gives instructions that must be followed to the letter' (Maria DiBattista).
In providing an authoritative text, introduction and annotations to Virginia Woolf's essays, Stuart N. Clarke has prepared a common ground - for students, common readers and scholars alike - so that all can come to Woolf without specialised knowledge.
'People should not leave looking-glasses hanging in their rooms any more than they should leave open cheque books or letters confessing some hideous crime.'
'If she concealed so much and knew so much one must prize her open with the first tool that came to hand - the imagination.'
Virginia Woolf's writing tested the boundaries of modern fiction, exploring the depths of human consciousness and creating a new language of sensation and thought. Sometimes impressionistic, sometimes experimental, sometimes brutally cruel, sometimes surprisingly warm and funny, these five stories describe love lost, friendships formed and lives questioned.
This book includes The Lady in the Looking Glass, A Society, The Mark on the Wall, Solid Objects and Lappin and Lapinova.
'The Germans were over this house last night and the night before that. Here they are again. It is a queer experience, lying in the dark and listening to the zoom of a hornet, which may at any moment sting you to death. It is a sound that interrupts cool and consecutive thinking about peace. Yet it is a sound - far more than prayers and anthems - that should compel one to think about peace. Unless we can think peace into existence we - not this one body in this one bed but millions of bodies yet to be born - will lie in the same darkness and hear the same death rattle overhead.'
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
Fiction was the core of Virginia Woolf's work. But she took her essay writing very seriously, spending a great deal of time on each essay and finding they provided a refreshing diversion from fiction. Her essays informed her fiction, and vice versa; this volume shows her thinking about the possibility of poeticising the novel (The Waves was the result) and in some of these pieces ('Women and Fiction', 'Women and Leisure') she considers the relationship between women, writing and society - the preoccupation that would become such a large part of her legacy.
The Common Reader: Second Series comprises a significant part of this volume - it was first published in 1932 to excellent reviews. ('They are wholly delightful. They are sensitive, acute, picturesque, humorous, and yet severe.' Vita Sackville-West; 'Is there anybody writing anywhere in the world at this moment who could surpass the essay...so beautifully moulded into a form appropriate to its content that what is an authentic critical masterpiece seems as light on the mind as a song?' Rebecca West) This collection shows Woolf's genius as a critic and essayist: as well as displaying her perceptive understanding of writers and their work, it also offers us an important insight into her creative mind.
Continuing the work of former editor Andrew McNeillie, Stuart N. Clarke brings fresh light to Woolf's essays and enriches them with variations. This penultimate volume forms part of an indispensable, unique collection from one of our greatest writers.
EDITED BY JOANNE TRAUTMANN BANKS, WITH A PREFACE BY HERMIONE LEE
The finest and most enjoyable of Virginia Woolf's letters are brought together in a single volume. It is a marvellous collection - spontaneous, witty, often flirtatious and powerfully moving. Whether bemoaning some domestic travail, commenting publicly on the state of the nation, or discussing cultural, artistic or personal concerns, Virginia Woolf is one of the great correspondents. This volume displays not only Woolf's courage and brilliance, her generosity and love of gossip, but also her genius for close and enduring friendship.
Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, first editor of The Dictionary of National Biography. After his death in 1904 Virginia and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to Bloomsbury and became 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.
In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a writer and social reformer. Three years later, her first novel The Voyage Out was published, followed by Night and Day (1919) and Jacob's Room (1922). These first novels show the development of Virginia Woolf's distinctive and innovative narrative style. It was during this time that she and Leonard Woolf founded The Hogarth Press with the publication of the co-authored Two Stories in 1917, hand-printed in the dining room of their house in Surrey.
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. This intense creative productivity was often matched by periods of mental illness, from which she had suffered since her mother's death in 1895. On 28 March 1941, a few months before the publication of her final novel, Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf committed suicide.