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Woolf: The Voyage Out

Author Theme Reads

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Feb 3, 2009, 6:40pm Top

Discuss Virginia Woolf's 1st novel "The Voyage Out" here.

Feb 24, 2009, 1:28pm Top

Hmm... not sure how I feel about this book.

It's very much a "first novel," and most of my enjoyment comes not from the quality of the novel itself, but seeing the nascent elements of Woolf's future work. But I've only read two other works by Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and A Room of One's Own. If I had a richer Woolf background, I'm sure the novel would be alive with foreshadowings and inside jokes.

I'm interested in hearing responses from readers more familiar with Woolf.

Feb 26, 2009, 1:10pm Top

I tried to read this one a few years ago, and got about half way through, but got busy and it just wasn't holding my interest. I really liked the first page. I now own it, and will try it again, but probably not this year.

Interestingly, this novel was edited significantly before publication. Apparently the original version was much racier, and a critic friend told her no one would publish it. So she rewrote it and tamed it down. The original novel is now available, it's called Melymbrosia. It would be interesting to do a comparison of the two.

Feb 27, 2009, 1:55am Top

I did get the impression as I was reading it that it was censored to some extent. It starts out with Helen wanting to teach her innocent niece Rachel about what it means 'when a man desires a woman' because Rachel doesn't even know where babies come from (it actually says that in the novel.) How can this not lead to a racy book? But alas, apparently when a man desires a woman they ignore each other and talk to a bunch of boring people instead, and occasionally cry. We never find out where babies come from.

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