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Virginia Woolf: A Biography Paperback – March 20, 1974


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book, Hb 269
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (March 20, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156935805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156935807
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JULIA BRIGGS is a professor of English at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. She was professor of Woolf studies at Hereford College, Oxford, for many years and is currently the editor of the reprint series of Woolf's novels. She lives in Leicester.

Customer Reviews

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On the contrary, it was a wonderful read, very hard to put down.
suefein
Some data of the family life might have been omitted in the book but in general it is a pretty objective and accurate work showing a lot of academic research.
Olga Greenwood
I read VIRGINIA WOLFE: A BIOGRAPHY by Quentin Bell after I had read several other books about Wolfe.
Dianne Foster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on March 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read VIRGINIA WOLFE: A BIOGRAPHY by Quentin Bell after I had read several other books about Wolfe. I was pleased to discover that Bell included some of the more unsavory aspects of Woolfe's life even though he was a blood relative and wrote his book in an age that frowned on revealing "dirty" family secrets. I am referring to the presumed incestuous behavior of Woolfe's brothers towards Virginia and Vanessa.
Quentin Bell was the son of Virginia's sister the artist Venessa Bell. Virginia and Vanessa were the daughters of the very prominent English Victorian Leslie Stephen. Stephen married Virginia's mother Julia after her first husband Herbert Duckworth died. The brothers accused of incest were sons from the first marriage and much older than Virginia who was the next to the youngest child of Julia and Leslie.
Much has been written about the end of Virgina's life, how she placed several heavy stones in her pockets and walked into the river Ouse near her home and drowned herself in the early 1940s. As recently as last week on Garrison Keilior's "Writer's Almanack" on NPR on the anniversary of her birth this event was mentioned again as if it was the only thing she ever did of interest.
But Virginia did not take her life easily. She had survived some horrific events including the death of her beloved brother Thoby--her closest sibling, and the deaths of many other loved persons during WWI, as well as the death of Lytton Strachey her best friend. Moreover, at the time of her death, her London home in Bloomsbury had been bombed and Hitler was threatening to invade England. Virginia's husband Leonard was Jewish and they were both aware of what Hitler was doing to the Jews.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By kristy cacciapaglia on January 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
An amazing and unique look at the life of Virginia Woolf, through the thoughts and studies of her own nephew--Quentin Bell. Filled with history, quotes, parts of letters and diary entries, this makes a wonderful and educational read. A peek into the society of Bloomsbury and beyond. This biography follows Virginia and all who were close to her through turbulent times and the happiness and stress of new households.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Pamela J. Atwood on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Almost sixty years after Virginia Woolf's death, her image is chrystalized in numerous bodies of boigraphical works. Most writers who commemorate Woolf must write as an onlooker. Quentin Bell is unlike most biographers. Woolf was his aunt. Bell is able to capture the smallest peculiarity in Woolf's character. She was a central personality in his life. His childhood memories of her are particularly strong. He remembers that she was a wonderful as a child's companion. She understood the young better than any other adult. Bell says that Woolf was a first-rate story teller. She could frighten children, even if the story was not terribly scary. THe only shortcoming of Bell's biography is that it has no criticism of Woolf's writings. Bell's work is simply a reccolection. However, it is an interesting read and a lovely memior.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on July 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Before I read Quentin Bell's biography of his aunt, Virginia Woolf, I knew next to nothing about her. I had read her two best known novels, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, and found them brilliantly illuminating. Literary scholars have characterized her as an early Twentieth Century modernist, and my reading casts her in the literary role of an existentialist. I take it that modernism and existentialism are not mutually exclusive, at least not in the work of Virginia Woolf.

I doubt, however, that Virginia Woolf, would have been interested in such categories or her place in them. For the most part, the same seems true of her biographer. Woolf, as rendered by her nephew, was committed to language, the written word, as a medium that could give true rendering of all human experience. From the time that she she began to take writing seriously, Bell makes clear that Woolf rejected claims that prose was inevitably linear and chronologically conventional, dealing with one thought or one character or one social setting at time. Instead, Bell does a fine job of making clear that his aunt was a member of a truly worthy literary avant garde, one that rejected conventional accounts of what it's like to participate in everyday life and what language could do to capture that experience.

In Virginia Woolf's written world, a family, friends, and acquaintances may be sitting at a dining table, eating and engaged in innocuous chatter, and giving the appearance that, for now, these activities are all-consuming, that they are what the social arrangement is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Oksol VINE VOICE on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
history of Virginia Woolf. So much has been written about VW (her life and her works), there is no need to add anything here. This book is written by VW's nephew, and is impressively comprehensive in scope. This is a two-volume biography, but it is sold as a single volume. Chapters are divided by years (e.g., Volume I, Chapter eight, is simply titled "1909"). The eight appendices include: Clive Bell and the Writing of "The Voyage Out"; The Dreadnought Hoax; and, Virginia Woolf and Julian Bell.
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