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The Voyage Out (Twentieth Century Classics) (original 1915; edition 1992)

by Virginia Woolf

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1,604174,530 (3.61)1 / 107
Member:lost.in.the.library
Title:The Voyage Out (Twentieth Century Classics)
Authors:Virginia Woolf
Info:Penguin Classics (1992), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:fiction

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The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf (1915)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I probably didn't do the book much justice by reading it in the space of a few months, and stopping halfway through to read something else. The characters and names were very confusing, but that's obviously my own fault, and not a critique of the book. I didn't see the end coming at all. Most importantly, I did live the writing. It was descriptive and effective and creative. But I'll probably have to read it again sometime in a more dedicated way. ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
I could not finish this, it was making me nutty. Just too mannered and smugly intellectual to truly enjoy. I feel fine with only getting halfway through and then releasing it on my trip.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
I think this was the first I've read of Virginia Woolf, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped though. It didn't feel like a great deal happened for awhile, at least earlier on in the book, and some of the descriptive or philosophical passages got rather wordy and took a bit to wade through. I didn't really like any of the characters either, so I didn't really care what happened to them throughout the book. It was just ok. ( )
  digitalmaven | Nov 25, 2013 |
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’. ( )
3 vote Caroline_McElwee | Mar 9, 2011 |
The Voyage Out is both a young woman's coming-of-age story and a thoughtful depiction of a search for meaning in a society whose traditional values have been overturned. The young woman, Rachel Vinrace, is in her early 20s but has, after being raised motherless in a convent, the naivete of a child. She accompanies her aunt and uncle on a voyage across the Atlantic to South America, where they vacation in a villa for the season. They soon mingle with the British guests in a nearby hotel, leading to Rachel's first love affair.

Aside from depicting some interesting and amusing characters in a colorful setting, The Voyage Out, even in its title, reflects the intellectual search for life's meaning at a time when traditional beliefs and values have been overturned by Darwin, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, etc. Woolf certainly wasn't the only author of the day to address this. She does so by placing her characters in a new world, where they cautiously explore their new surroundings while at the same time trying to preserve the comfortable forms and habits of the old. The question "What do we do now?" is always present. In the end, they turn toward one another, but will that be the answer?

The Voyage Out was Virginia Woolf's first novel, and is a little unfocused at times, but is conventionally written and thus much easier to read than her later works. Fans of Mrs. Dalloway will certainly want to read it to see Clarissa make a preview appearance as one of the passengers on the sea voyage. ( )
5 vote StevenTX | Dec 8, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
So the story maunders on, and the fact that it is crowded with incident, most of it futile, and that the clever talk by every one continues in a confusing cataract in every chapter, does not save it from becoming extremely tedious.
added by Nickelini | editNew York Times (Jun 18, 1920)
 

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Virginia Woolfprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gadda Conti, GiuseppeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Previtali, OrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As the streets that lead from the Strand to the Embankment are very narrow, it is better not to walk down them arm-in-arm.
Quotations
In the streets of London where beauty goes unregarded, eccentricity must pay the penalty.
She looked forward to seeing them as civilised people generally look forward to the first sight of civilised people, as though they were of the nature of an approaching physical discomfort—a tight shoe or a draughty window.
"I have a weakness for people who can't begin."
Each of the ladies, being after the fashion of their sex, highly trained in promoting men's talk without listening to it, could think—about the education of children, about the use of fog sirens in an opera—without betraying herself.
[...], for if Rachel were ever to think, feel, laugh, or express herself, instead of dropping milk from a height as though to see what kind of drops it made, she might be interesting though never exactly pretty.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156028050, Paperback)

Woolf’s first novel is a haunting book, full of light and shadow. It takes Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose and their niece, Rachel, on a sea voyage from London to a resort on the South american coast. “It is a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South americanca not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an americanca whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis” (E. M. Forster).

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:36 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

We meet young free-spirited Rachel Vinrace aboard her father's ship, the Euphrosyne, departing London for South America. Surrounded by a clutch of genteel companions -- among them her aunt Helen, who judges Rachel to be "vacillating," "emotional," and "more than normally incompetent for her years" -- Rachel displays a startling maturity when she finds her engagement to the writer Terence Hewet listing toward disaster.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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