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

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (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 (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A most triumphant trespassing of human imagination into dog sensibilities... The result is a book of irresistible grace and charm" (Spectator)

"A masterpiece... It is not fiction because it has the substance, the reality of truth. It is not biography because it has the freedom, the artistry of fiction" (New York Herald Tribune Books) --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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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Sept. 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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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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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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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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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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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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