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Flush (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 26 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (26 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199539294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199539291
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Virginia Woolf is now recognized as a major twentieth-century author, a great novelist and essayist and a key figure in literary history as a feminist and a modernist. Born in 1882, she 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. Her father died in 1904 and two years later her favourite brother Thoby died suddenly of typhoid.

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, which was to publish the work of T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and Katherine Mansfield as well as the earliest translations of Freud. Woolf lived an energetic life among friends and family, reviewing and writing, and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.

Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and she then worked through the transitional Night and Day (1919) to the highly experimental and impressionistic Jacob's Room (1922). From then on her fiction became a series of brilliant and extraordinarily varied experiments, each one searching for a fresh way of presenting the relationship between individual lives and the forces of society and history. She was particularly concerned with women's experience, not only in her novels but also in her essays and her two books of feminist polemic, A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938).

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), the family saga of The Years (1937), and Between the Acts (1941). All these are published by Penguin, as are her Diaries, Volumes I-V, and selections from her essays and short stories.


Product Description

Review

First published in 1933, Flush is the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spaniel. Although Flush has adventures of his own, he is also the means of providing us with glimpses into the life of his owner and her days at Wimpole Street as an invalid, her courtship by Robert Browning, their elopement and life together in Italy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A lively and touching biography of the cocker spaniel given to Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Mary Russell Mitford. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
Virginia Woolf's fictional biography of Flush the spaniel must make him the most famous dog in literature. Flush was Elizabeth Barrett Browning's beloved cocker spaniel, and she herself wrote two poems about him.

Poor Flush has to contend with being dog-napped, having to accept Robert Browning into his life and then the Browning's baby. He travels form London to Italy, making him a well traveled pooch, also he has to endure the Spiritualist craze of the time.

This book gives you an insight into Elizabeth Barrett Browning's life and the love she had for her dog, as well as a dog's view of living with humans. Definitely the lightest of Woolf's works this is also possibly the most accessible. If you have never read Virginia Woolf before this is a good book to make you acquainted with her work. If you are fans of her books you will love this. This book also includes the original illustrations and Margaret Forster's introduction gives an insight into Flush and his effect on Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Dutton on 27 Jun 2008
Format: Paperback
Virginia Woolf may be best known for her modernist novels such as Mrs Dalloway, The Waves, and To The Lighthouse, but she also wrote this seemingly light and funny 'biography' of the spaniel belonging to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Woolf read the published love letters between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett and was hugely entertained by the feature they made of Barrett's dog's, Flush. (The dog was clearly put out by the courtship and not amused to be second in his mistress's favour.) However, though it might seem just a lighthearted read, Flush: A Biography raises questions about 'breeding' and status - showing such notions to be absurd. The book essentially charts the taming and training of Flush (who is a pedigree dog) and effectively put this alongside the 'taming' and 'classification' of women. The book itself is a funny and imaginative read and sold very well at the time it was first published. Woolf was apparently worried she would be put down as a 'ladylike prattler' for writing this book and would have hated it to be described as 'charming', but whether you read it at face value as a fun and clever book about a dog's life, or look for the dissection of women's lot in life, it is definitely worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Walsh on 9 Dec 2003
Format: Paperback
In this book Virginia Woolf tells the life story of the Spaniel Flush and his mistress the English poet Elizabeth Barett. The two are inseprable and share the ups and downs in life. Elizabet Barett became the wife of poet Robert Browning and shortly after their marriage they moved to Italy taking Flush with them. Moving to Italy makes both Flush and his mistress bloom.As everything else written by Virginia Woolf this book has a beautiful language and is filled with a wonderful sence of beeing there.As well as portraying Flush it also gives us a beautiful portrait of Elizabeth Barett, her life how it was and how it came to bee after meeting her future husband. Robert Browning. "Flush" is a must for dog lovers. You will feel happy and even more convinced that dogs really are man's best friend after you have read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jan on 8 May 2012
Format: Paperback
There are many editions of Virginia Woolf's delightful story about Flush and his owner Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but if you are going to buy a copy why not buy one of Persephone Books beautiful editions.

The story is deceptively simple and there are those who think the writing is far too whimsical and quite unworthy of the brilliant Virginia Woolf. However, I think they have missed the point. Flush comes from the freedom of the countryside to live in the Barrett's house in the city as a companion to the constantly ailing Elizabeth. Ms Woolf uses Flush's thoughts and observations to tell us a great deal about the way society expected women to behave in Victorian England, the restrictions on them and their lack of opportunities. This engaging (cocker spaniel!) narrator is a very socially aware pet and he gives us a very clear picture of life in London at that time. He notices class conflicts and struggles, the claustrophobic atmosphere in the Barrett's home and the squalor in parts of the city. At the same time, Flush provides a glimpse into the life of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning both before and after Robert Browning enters her life.

The book is quite charming and this gorgeous Persephone edition makes a beautiful gift for a friend or for yourself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rose Briers on 4 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
What a lovely book. It gives the dogs view of the world it lives in. It is the dog of Elizabeth Browning and a truly delightful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 30 April 2013
Format: Paperback
"Had the Kennel Club, then, no jurisdiction in Italy?... He was the only pure-bred cocker spaniel in the whole of Pisa"

This is probably Woolf at her most playful as she imagines a 'biography' for Flush, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's dog. Told from Flush's point of view, this follows his introduction in the Barrett household, the advent of Robert Browning and the move to Italy... from a dog's viewpoint.

I have to admit that I found this all a bit too cute for my tastes. We certainly might read Flush as a symbol for other groups excluded from, and yet existing on the margins of, nineteenth-century upper middle-class life, such as the personal maids who served women like Elizabeth Barrett, but the 'dogginess' of this didn't really work for me (maybe I'm too much of a cat person?)

Others have clearly loved this - but if you're looking for an accessible way into Woolf, I would recommend Orlando over this.
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