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The Waves Paperback – 1978

70 customer reviews

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The Waves + To the Lighthouse + Mrs. Dalloway
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Full of sensuous touches...the sounds of her words can be velvet on the page -- Maggie Gee Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

This edition will be the most extensive and authoritative, the most fully collated, scrupulously researched and explicated text available to scholars to date, and for considerable time to come. Based on the first edition of Woolf's most challenging novel, this volume is an essential purchase for libraries and scholars. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest/Hbj Book
  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156949601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156949606
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941) was one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century. An admired literary critic, she authored many essays, letters, journals, and short stories in addition to her groundbreaking novels.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Trina T. Brown on November 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Virginia Woolf in college when I took an entire class devoted to her work. Although I had never read any of her work before, I quickly became a fan. My professor saved the best for last - The Waves. This book is the most poetic, most profound, most intimate book I have ever read.
No one speaks in this book. You follow the characters' lives from childhood to adulthood by entering their minds and listening to their thoughts. At first it is difficult to figure out what is going on. There is no narration except short poetic passages about the sea and the sun's placement over it preceding each section of the book (and each period of the characters' lives). By the middle of the book, you know who is speaking without reading the name of the character. You know how they think.
I strongly encourage anyone who is even slightly curious to buy this book. This small investment can change how you view the world. The Waves takes much longer to get through than some whodunit, but that's the beauty of it. My husband and I read a passage at night before going to bed. It's best when read slowly, with time to reflect after a small amount of pages. You'll be highlighting sentences that make great quotes as you go. What a glorious book!
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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Even if you've read other Virigina Woolf, you haven't come close to the experience of The Waves. Did you have to read To the Lighthouse for some class back in college? The Waves seems like a totally different author. Perhaps Jacob's Room comes closer, but still The Wave is unique:
The whole text is entirely soliloquys in the first person. No 3rd person description, no omniscient narrator, just the opening of quotation marks, one of the few characters begins to speak, then the ending of quotation marks... beginning once more with the opening quotation marks for the next speaker's soliloquy, and so on and on in waves of thought.
We follow each speaker from early childhood to old age, and we know them intimately by the book's end. Give the book a chance; at first I could only take three or four *pages* at a time, but also looked forward to these few pages every day. Later, I could easily read more and more, and truly the experience was like "waves" of life, lapping over my consciousness.
If you like unique "novels," e.g. Nabokov's Pale Fire (although different it's unique too), this is a must-have. There's nothing else like it, even in Virginia Woolf's body of work.
If you can't take the full load of first-person consciousness, but like her dreamy style, then go for her book of short stories. But I recommend keeping the book, and treating yourself, a few pages at a time... you too will feel at the end of a magnificent life's journey by time you follow each character's thoughts to the end.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Buzz Advert on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
You have never read a book like this. But don't let that intimidate. This is her most experimental work, but it is still much more accesible than many other modernists. Her sentences and paragraphs are intelligible; it's more the accumulation of pages that might begin to baffle some readers. Woolf obviously requires a good deal of concentration, but her best works are rewarding in a way that many difficult writers are not. (You won't need a professor nearby or a mess of annotations to guide you through dense thickets of allusion-filled, abstract prose.)
I consider this to be Woolf's greatest work. Mrs. Dalloway may be a more pleasurable read and more consistently a "masterpiece", but the Waves is often so intense and beautiful that it's devastating. In fact, there are times that one is a bit overwhelmed by the surfeit of emotion, poetic words, unremitting interiority.
My Woolf pix in order: 1. Waves 2. Dalloway 3. Jacob's Room 4. A Room of One's Own 5. Orlando
I personally feel that To the Lighthouse is more of a work to be appreciated than liked--it's simply too refined. And I couldn't make it through Between the Acts--too many upper class English people sitting around a table in the country sipping tea and performing their subtle, boring manners.
Wait, I can't end on a sour note: Woolf is a bloody delight!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Trillian on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I loved this book, for both what it says - about life, time and relationships - and for how it says it. It is also true, though, that it is one of her less accessible works, and can occasionally be frustrating in its vagueness. To anyone considering buying this book, DO - it's worth it - 2 things that I learnt, though:
1. This is probably not good as an introduction to Virginia Woolf, modernism or 'stream of consciousness' writing - it may be a good idea to read "To The Lighthouse" first.....
2. If you're a genuis or an English teacher you may understand this right off, I don't know - but for the rest of us, I think that it's worth a second read, the first to feel the rhythm, and the second to actually understand the message (if that doesn't sound too ridiculous!) - otherwise it is easy to get bogged down and frustrated, as I did it the first time I read it. Every time I reread this book, I discover something new, despite the fact that spent almost a month studying it in depth....
Good luck!
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