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Jacob's Room (Collins Classics) [Paperback]

Virginia Woolf

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Book Description

9 May 2013 Collins Classics

HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics.

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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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.


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About the Author

Virginia Woolf was an English novelist, essayist, short story writer, publisher, critic and member of the Bloomsbury group, as well as being regarded as both a hugely significant modernist and feminist figure. Her most famous works include Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own.


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Interplay between the mind and the world 24 Oct 2013
By Peter Luykx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jacob Flanders as a university student and the people he comes in contact with serve as windows showing how the human mind receives and processes the fragmented world of the senses, with all the fuzziness, biases, and distortions that come with being part of society. Very psychological; no straight-line plot development here, most questions remain unresolved, and many personages appear on stage briefly and then disappear. But it doesn’t matter; it’s the vision that counts. There are many marvelous passages. “. . . the bright, inquisitive, armored, resplendent, summer’s day, which has long since vanquished chaos; which has dried the melancholy medieval mists . . . equipped our brains and bodies with such an armory of weapons that merely to see the flash and thrust of limbs engaged in the conduct of daily life is better than the old pageant of armies drawn out in battle array upon the plain.” You will come away with no new way of looking at the world, but with a new awareness of how you’ve been looking at it all along.
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