Reading Virginia's novels Chronologically

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Reading Virginia's novels Chronologically

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Mar 9, 2011, 11:20am

I decided that this was the year to read the novels chronologically. I have read 6 of the 9 already, some more than once:

The novels of Virginia Woolf

The Voyage Out (1915) (VW= 33 years of age) First reading
Night and Day (1919) Second reading
Jacobs Room (1922) Second reading
Mrs Dalloway (1925) Fifth reading
To the Light House (1927) Third or fourth reading
Orlando (1928) First reading
The Waves (1931) Second reading
The Years (1937) Third reading
Between the Acts (1941) First Reading

Mar 9, 2011, 11:22am

The Voyage Out (1915)

This in many ways is quite a brave debut novel as it is a long, slow drizzle of information about an increasing number of people who find themselves together on a journey, and latterly holed up in a hotel or villa in a foreign land.

There are a number of metaphorical dances (and the odd real one) between different characters, but for the most part we are concerned with the progress to womanhood of Rachel Vinrace, who is an intelligent but unformed and somewhat naive young woman in her early twenties when we first meet her; motherless and travelling with her father on one of his liners, and taken in hand by her aunt Helen on arrival at their destination.

The respective meetings with the characters she encounters sees her grow, but not quite form her own philosophy by the end of the story, though permit her an arc. A filling out, and we almost see a future for her, for the woman she might become.

This is probably the most stylistically straightforward of Virginia Woolf’s novels, but already you get a sense of what it is she is may go on to do. I can imagine at the time it was published it would already have been a little discomforting to read, neither quite a ‘conventional’ narrative, and yet not yet a book by the modern stylist she would become.

Read as a debut novel, I would certainly have marked her down as ‘one to watch’.

Dec 6, 2011, 1:53pm

Hi, Caroline

Just found this thread and wondering how you're doing. I've read all of Woolf's greatest hits, and now I'm going back and reading the rest in chronological order. I'm loving The Voyage Out so far.

Jan 10, 2012, 11:54am

>>3 Nickelini: - I cheated Nickelini - I had read Night and Day so recently I jumped to a re-read of Mrs Dalloway. I am leaning to finally reading Orlando and Between the Acts, two of the three I haven't read so far. Will see.

Apr 6, 2013, 3:01am

Caroline & Joyce;
Apparently it has been a very long time since I was over here. I love the idea of reading Virginia Woolf chronologically and it is impossible to read any of her works too many times. I think I will work this in with my reading for the remainder of the year. If I begin this month, at one a month I will just make it through. Glad I popped over.

Apr 6, 2013, 3:42am

and it is impossible to read any of her works too many times.

I so very much agree.

I have to take a break between Woolf books though because I have to really focus when I read her. It can be exhausting. Rewarding, enriching, wonderful. But exhausting.

Apr 6, 2013, 4:28am

That is all so true Joyce, which is why I am not going to attempt more than one a month. One does need to focus and we are none of us as brilliant as she. So it takes a bit more.