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Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf
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Jacob's Room (original 1922; edition 2011)

by Virginia Woolf

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1,676214,268 (3.49)1 / 153
Member:BenDV
Title:Jacob's Room
Authors:Virginia Woolf
Info:CreateSpace (2011), Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf (1922)

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English (20)  French (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I didn't really care for this. Not surprisingly, the writing is good, there were a few lines I especially liked; but the (very loose) story... just not for me. I didn't mind the odd style of telling it, I don't think, though it's hard to say so clearly when you're not very fond of what's being told. But, the kind of vaguely sad, ambling, not much plot... I just didn't care much for it. And for me I think it's less the plotless/ambling aspect than the fact that I'm just really not keen on the kind of, sad look back on life sort of thing. The "feel" (so to speak) of the novel is just not the kind of thing I enjoy. I'd put it in the same kind of class as Age of Innocence or Brideshead Revisited, Crome Yellow perhaps. It's just not my thing. But it was a short quick read, so eh.

I am curious to read other Woolf and see what I think of the more hyped titles. ( )
  .Monkey. | Aug 1, 2016 |
[Jacob's Room] is Virginia Woolf's third novel and her first experimental novel. I didn't connect to it the same way I did to her later novels, but in the end I find myself intrigued by it.

Woolf chooses Jacob as her central character, a young man who you expect from the beginning will be the perfect age to die in WWI. Instead of letting the reader into his growth from childhood to young adulthood, Woolf holds the reader at arms length in favor of showing brief exterior experiences. Characters flit in and out of the book and Jacob goes through a string of women love interests. He starts the book as a young child, goes to school, and travels, but everything is shown in brief vignettes. There isn't much interior development of Jacob's feelings.

But Woolf's beautiful writing is expressive enough to carry the book. I love how she can capture the most mundane moment and make it seem unique. This book in particular is very visual. It does however, lack the structure that her later books have that keep things moving forward.

This is definitely a book to ponder and reread. Despite not having a satisfying connection to it the whole time I was reading it, I'm interested enough to count it as an enjoyable reading experience. ( )
1 vote japaul22 | Jun 20, 2016 |
This novel is a character study of a young man named Jacob. Woolf shows him to us in short snippets through the perceptions of other characters in his life, so we never get a really good representation of him.

While I don’t doubt the literary genius of Woolf or this novel, and while I like the general concept, I just couldn’t enjoy it because I couldn’t force myself to pay attention to what I was reading. The narrative jumped around so much that I got tired of trying to keep track of who was speaking and where we were. If I had done some research beforehand and had known more about the book before reading it, I might have enjoyed it more, but I’m not going to mess around with rereading it now. I think I just tackled this one at the wrong time. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
This short novel was my first experience of Virginia Woolf's writings. It is quickly read and not difficult at all to enjoy, like a walk through a park on a sunny day with interesting companions and only the weight of a picnic on your shoulders.
Though there is not much plot to this, it doesn't seem to matter; it is a literary novel.
What we do not learn about the characters is compensated by what we learn about how the world is variously perceived, or can be perceived. This is a novel of impressions of the world, recorded for their aesthetic qualities and largely indifferent to their moral or practical consequences for the characters. Hence it provides relief from the heavy novel.
What it did more than anything was inspire me to get up and just experience the world outside, anything, just to receive impressions of things for their own sake. This was perhaps not solely due to aesthetic stimulation, but also due to the ennui that seems contagious among the characters.
I would recommend this work and will read more Woolf in the future. ( )
  P_S_Patrick | Dec 12, 2014 |

Jacob's Room marked the genesis of the inventive style (where 'one thing should open out of another'—V.W., diary entry) that would evolve into the mastery Woolf displays in her later novels. It's possible that readers who have already come to appreciate the splendor of books such as To the Lighthouse and The Waves may be underwhelmed by this slender novel. However, it still has much to offer if one comes to it with the right frame of mind, namely that of not expecting perfection. Instead we find, in their embryonic stages, snatches of the cotton wool Woolf pulls apart so carefully for us to see in those later works.And the notes accumulate. And the telephones ring. And everywhere we go wires and tubes surround us to carry the voices that try to penetrate before the last card is dealt and the days are over. 'Try to penetrate', for as we lift the cup, shake the hand, express the hope, something whispers, Is this all? Can I never know, share, be certain? Am I doomed all my days to write letters, send voices, which fall upon the tea-table, fade upon the passage, making appointments, while life dwindles, to come and dine? Yet letters are venerable; and the telephone valiant, for the journey is a lonely one, and if bound together by notes and telephones we went in company, perhaps—who knows?— we might talk by the way.
( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Woolf, Virginiaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Banti, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiedeldij Dop, JoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roe, SueEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"So of course," wrote Betty Flanders, pressing her heels rather deeper in the sand, "there was nothing for it but to leave."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156457423, Paperback)

The story of a man’s life from a day in his childhood to the day of his death. “Jacob’s Room...comes as a tremendous surprise. The impossible has occurred. The style closely resembles that of Kew Gardens....The break with Night and Day and even with The Voyage Out is complete. A new type of fiction has swum into view” (E. M. Forster).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:36 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Jacob's Room is Virginia Woolf's first truly experimental novel. It is a portrait of a young man, who is both representative and victim of the social values which led Edwardian society into war. Jacob's life is traced from the time he is a small boy playing on the beach, through his years in Cambridge, then in artistic London, and finally making a trip to Greece, but this is no orthodox Bildungsroman. Jacob is presented in glimpses, in fragments, as Woolf breaks down traditional ways of representing character and experience. The novel's composition coincided with the consolidation of Woolf's interest in feminism, and she criticizes the privilege thoughtless smugness of patriarchy, "the other side," "the men in clubs and Cabinets." Her stylistic innovations are conscious attempts to realize and develop women's writing and the novel dramatizes her interest in the ways both language and social environments shape differently the lives of men and women.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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