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The Voyage Out

The Voyage Out [Kindle Edition]

Virginia Woolf
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Done with something startling like genius - in its humour and its sense of irony, the occasional poignancy of its emotions, its profound originality" (Observer)

"It is absolutely unafraid... Here at last is a book which attains unity as surely as Wuthering Heights, though by a different path" (E. M. Forster)

Book Description

Virginia Woolf's first novel about a young woman's search for life, love and the world (2004-09-23)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 578 KB
  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846374715
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0084AYPHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,687 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Woolf's first novel, "The Voyage Out", can get overlooked because many readers and critics focus on her more experimental and more widely-read works (such as "To The Lighthouse" and "The Waves"). Although this work is not as revolutionary in its style it is still an excellent piece of literature and the traditional narrative style means that there is more direct exploration of specific themes (such as the value of the arts in society).
Most importantly Rachel Vinrace seems to me to be one of Woolf's best and most endearing characters. The reader first meets her as a young and naive girl and watches as a series of events in the book transforms her into a more mature young woman. This makes the book a fulfilling read in itself because Rachel's character progresses and develops (some would argue that progression of character is detrementally absent in, for example, "The Waves"). However I think "The Voyage Out" is not only a good book in its own right, but also a very interesting piece when read in relation to Woolf's other novels. "Mrs. Dalloway", "To the Lighthouse" and "The Years" all contain female heroines, who, despite being complex and well developed characters, could be argued to show little progression. Rachel Vinrace can be seen as a younger but similar character whose progression may thus be a reflection of these other characters' progressions to their mature and stable opinions and personalities. Even if you haven't read any other novels by Woolf, "The Voyage Out" with its engaging characters and interesting themes is well worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miraculous debut 28 Jan 2014
Virginia Woolf is justly celebrated for her modernist novels, starting with her third one 'Jacob's Room', with the effect that her first two novels sit in their shadow, a little neglected. Yet this, her first, is a rich and profound novel which confidently takes on the great themes - love, death, marriage, gender, innocence, illness, the social customs and attitudes of the English middle-class, the effect of landscape on moods and feelings, voyages both geographical and psychological into the unknown, Englishness.... Given that this is a debut novel, it is nothing short of miraculous.

Writing in the Edwardian period, the young Woolf was attempting a novel which foregrounded the woman's point of view in a world controlled at every level by men. She had few, if any, contemporary female novelists of sufficient seriousness to guide her in this, though of course she was steeped in Victorian literature. Her male counterparts exploring similar territory were James and Forster, Meredith perhaps; the realist fiction of Wells, Galsworthy and Bennett she found limited; she had to feel her way through successive drafts (later ones published as 'Melymbrosia') to reach the assured tone of this novel. To my mind, it does not just indicate promise and foreshadow the later novels, it is a masterpiece in its own right.

It is a novel of character, relationships and sensibility (readers looking for a dramatic plot, perhaps in the style of Conrad, should look elsewhere). Rachel, an innocent 24 year old motherless young woman brought up by aunts in Richmond, is on a voyage with her aunt and uncle to South America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious 1 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The characters were just not interesting enough to keep me reading to the end. I rarely give up on a book so, after a gap of about a month, I tried again but this story just did not have enough to stimulate imagination.
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