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Jacob's Room (Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 2 Jan 1992
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"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... eleg -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
An experimental novel about a young man who yearns for something greater than his everyday life holds. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.See all Product description
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"The human soul, it seems to me, orientates itself afresh every now and then. It is doing so now. No one can see it whole, therefore. The best of us catch a glimpse of a nose, a shoulder, something turning away, always in movement. Still, it seems better to me to catch this glimpse, than to sit down with Hugh Walpole, Wells, etc. etc. and make large oil paintings of fabulous fleshy monsters complete from top to toe."
Thereby coming to one of the first examples of Virginia Woolf's oevre we see the something of the point of what she was about as a writer. Rejecting the "fabulous fleshy monsters" was part of an attempt to record a more realistic vision of consciousness, with all of its uncertainties, its fragmentation, even, it seems to the point of inconsequentiality. But who could say it was not a wholehearted attempt to get closer than usual to human experience. Yes it rejects the, to her, banal conventionalities of the novel - a breathtaking rejection that elects to do without the tyrannies of plot, of characterisation, even of story. It keeps theme only in the sense of its circle of attention upon one person, eventually, after the childhood sequence, upon Jacob. But Jacob only as he might be glimpsed, seen at a dinner party, out with his art-school girlfriend Florinda, the bedroom door opened, then closed on us. Woolf is a prude, perhaps understandably, due to the conventions of the time as well as her own experience of sexual abuse at the age of 13.
It is an extraordinary leap of faith for any writer to take and though it doesn't catch Woolf at the height of her powers (my own favourite is 'Mrs Dalloway' or possibly 'To The Lighthouse'), it is a step along the Modernist road she was determined that her writing must travel.
I think 'Jacob's Room' is a very 'impressionistic' novel in that we get no concrete sense of who the main character, Jacob Flanders, is. As another reviewer has said, we only catch glimpses of him. There is no god-like omniscient author forever telling you what the character thinks or feels. (To me this reflects the increasingly godless modern world we live in.) Also, the dialogue in the novel is often disjointed and I think this reflects the atomised modern world we live in. I assume that by writing dialogue which lacks linearity and fluidity Woolf more truthfully reflects human to human interaction: it's often full of non-sequitors, fails to flow easily, is interrupted etc.
If you're prepared for a challenging read and want to see how Woolf got started on the process of challenging the then accepted norms of fiction wfiting - then buy this book.
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