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The Waves (1931)

by Virginia Woolf

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5,189711,938 (4.11)251
One of Woolf's most experimental novels, The Waves presents six characters in monologue - from morning until night, from childhood into old age - against a background of the sea. The result is a glorious chorus of voices that exists not to remark on the passing of events but to celebrate the connection between its various individual parts.… (more)

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English (64)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
This was an experimental novel for Woolf, one that succeeded grandly.

Taking notes, which I sometimes do, helped me follow along with these abbreviated descriptions of her sixl characters, who grew up together and remained connected in various ways throughout their lives. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 13, 2023 |
Oh Virginia Woolf...my greatest inspiration for writing style and gender. She was way ahead of her time in so many ways. The Waves is my favorite because it introduced me to the stream of consciousness style of writing, of the intimacy of being inside the head of a character. It is an experimental style novel with prose that reads a lot like poetry and the story is told through six children's own soliloquies. Themes of individuality, self, community also seem almost to be a part of the same one consciousness. When I first encountered this book I was stunned by the concept and fell in love with it. There is nothing else like reading Virginia Woolf. ( )
  Andy5185 | Jul 9, 2023 |
The rare five star review. Woolf as much as any modernist writer is able to capture the feeling of consciousness, the particular impressionistic moment in nature, in a restaurant, on the tube. Here we have a Faulknerian changing of perspective that she plays with in To the Lighthouse and Orlando. The whole thing has to wash over you, like a Renoir; you can spend time lost in the details. The paragraphs stand alone as prose poems. It rewards slow reading, the teasing out meaning as the characters shift and age and mourn and experience the world. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
  archivomorero | May 21, 2023 |
Thus when I come to shape here at this table between my hands the story of my life and set it before you as a complete thing, I have to recall things gone far, gone deep, sunk into this life or that and become part of it; dreams, too, things surrounding me, and the inmates, those old half-articulate ghosts who keep up their hauntings by day and night; who turn over in their sleep, who utter their confused cries, who put out their phantom fingers and clutch at me as I try to escape—shadows of people one might have been; unborn selves.
My umpteenth reading of The Waves and it still floors me. There's not a wasted word here: Woolf's attention to rhythm—she was listening to Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat Minor, Opus 130 while writing this novel, and Beethoven's nuances are found in her prose at all turns—and the ways in which she questions subjectivity, interpersonal relations, the ways in which we are connected and yet disparate from those around us are on display here more so than in any of her other fictional works.

The last section is sadly not as famous as the last section in Joyce's Ulysses, but it may well be even more gut-wrenchingly brutal in its philosophical underpinnings and the ways in which Woolf engages with poetics to sustain the flow of her inquiries into what it means to be human. On each reading there is something more to be found here, something more to be learned, something to relish and treasure, some keen diamond-edged truth that slices just as much as it illuminates.

A book that can never have an equal, hands down. ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (65 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Woolf, Virginiaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, VanessaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch, AndrésTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosse-Sporleder, MariaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flint, KateEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, AngelicaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hussey, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, Maria AntòniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parsons, DeborahIntroduction and Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, LucíliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wajsbrot, CécileTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sun had not yet risen.
The sun had not yet risen. The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it. Gradually as the sky whitened a dark line lay on the horizon dividing the sea from the sky and the grey cloth became barred with thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface, following each other, pursuing each other, perpetually.”
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There is nothing staid, nothing settled in this universe. All is rippling, all is dancing; all is quickness and triumph.
Percival has died (he died in Egypt; he died in Greece; all deaths are one death).
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One of Woolf's most experimental novels, The Waves presents six characters in monologue - from morning until night, from childhood into old age - against a background of the sea. The result is a glorious chorus of voices that exists not to remark on the passing of events but to celebrate the connection between its various individual parts.

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Desde 1931, año de su publicación, Las olas ha sido considerada una de las obras capitales del presente siglo, tanto por la original belleza de su prosa como por la perfección de su revolucionaria técnica, y, con el paso de los años, su influencia sobre la literatura contemporánea ha ido acrecentándose. La novela desarrolla, al compás del batir de las olas en la playa, seis monólogos interiores, a veces discrepantes y aislados, otras veces casi en coloquio concordante, en los que se formulan, desde su infancia hasta sus últimos años, seis vidas múltiples y dispares.
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Average: (4.11)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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