Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Virginia Woolf: An Introduction

Virginia Woolf ReaderThe Virginia Woolf Reader 
by Virginia Woolf , edited by Mitchell A. Leaska

"a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction;"(p 170)

This is a great introduction to the writings of Virginia Woolf. It spans her oeuvre with selected short stories and essays; there are also excerpts from several novels, her diary and letters, and her autobiographical writings. Especially welcome is a twenty-page long excerpt from her famous essay A Room of One's Own, but the selections from novels also demonstrate her mature fiction writing style.

The editor, Mitchell A. Leaska, provides a thoughtful preface detailing the choices he made in compiling these selections. The result is a representative collection of her writings that demonstrates with the breadth of her interests and her inimitable style of writing. Readers who are new to Virginia Woolf and those who are familiar with her works should welcome this anthology.


Ruth said...

I will put this one on my TBR list. I struggled through Mrs. Dalloway, but I am quite intrigued by Woolf's life; I still want to try her other works.

James said...


Thanks for sharing your experience. This volume provides a good introduction. One novel by Woolf you might consider is Night and Day, her second novel. It is in a more Victorian style and somewhat reminiscent of Jane Austen, yet still with suggestions of Woolf's more mature style.

Brian Joseph said...

This looks really good. Introductions like this can provide a nice sampling of an author's work.

I will likely read A Room of One's Own in its entirety sometime over the next couple of years.

James said...


Thanks for your comment. This works as a sampling both for those new to Virginia Woolf and for those familiar with at least some of her writings.
A Room of One's Own is a relatively short read (about a hundred pages) full of observations both interesting and challenging. It impressed me when I read it more than two decades ago. I need to return to it to refresh my memory of what I found to be a remarkable essay.

Parrish Lantern said...

These introduction books can be great although I'm not a great fan of this particular writer.

James said...


I must confess that I am a fan of Woolf, although I've got much more of her works yet to read. This is good as a refresher as much as an introduction.