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on 11 February 2010
Some of these essays were written to be read aloud but most were for the reading audience. As ever Virginia Woolf's command of prose is awe-inspiring; she argues elegantly. Her wit and passion are evident throughout. I was very taken with a Mrs Brown, a metaphor for how different authors approach the characters that people their novels. She also demonstrates a great deal of humanity and dispels the notion that essays on such esoteric subjects as "Memories of a Working Women's Guild" by such an illuminatory will be academic and bloodless.
However, I got a sense of history in these essays and how society and writing have moved on since Mrs Woolf argued her case for getting to the heart of her subjects along with Joyce as opposed to the Victorian writers who excelled in extensive descriptions of place and situations. But maybe on reflection the same comparison can also be drawn with contemporary novelists.....So a thought provoking read. Also, not to be missed for the brilliant essay "On being ill". Here is a lady who knows something about being unwell.
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2008
I bought this collection of essays as background reading for an essay on The Waves (Wordsworth Classics) which I had to write as part of my A2 English coursework. The pages are thick and the type isn't smudgy like many cheap books, which matters to me. I looked at some other essay collections on Amazon, but this is by far the best. I was worried that it would only contain a sample of Woolf's essays, but fortunately the editor(s) have included all the important essays regarding Woman & Fiction and her views on Fiction. Although this was bought as a study aid, I was amazed at how fascinating the essays are to read, Woolf manages to convey quite complex ideas in a way that is very accessible even after an hour or so of reading. I found the references to Georgian and Elizabethan writers a bit beyond me to start with, but it didn't take much research before the references became more familiar.

If you are studying Virginia Woolf at any level or just wish to hear some extraordinary musings on themes still relevant to us today, I recommend this collection!
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on 24 May 2016
Woolf is a unique and lightning quick modern thinker who in these essays put her finger directly on what it is like for women to try and work in a male dominated world, as well as what exactly the lifeblood of the modern novel was. Well worth a read, she's wickedly dry to top it all off.
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on 4 February 2009
As all work by Virginia Woolf a fascinating read. There is so much to be gained from the words of Virginia Woolf well beyond what she has actually written. Food for thought.
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