Virginia Woolf (Paperback)

Author: Lee, Hermione

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Product Overview

A richly detailed, monumental biography of one of the twentieth centurys greatest writers traces Woolfs life and career, detailing her personal relationships, her chronic illness, and the forces, factors, and ideas that shaped her life. Reprint. 15,000 first printing. *Author: Lee, Hermione *Publication Date: 1999/12/01 *Number of Pages: 893 *Binding Type: Paperback *Language: English *Depth: 2.00 *Width: 5.75 *Height: 8.25

Specifications

Publisher Random House Inc
Mfg Part# 9780375701368
SKU 30509356
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0375701362
Release Date 4/10/2007
Physical
Dimensions (in Inches) 8.25H x 5.75L x 2T
Praise
"Following Woolf's own experience of her life rather than later interpretations of it, Lee delivers a comprehensive, elegantly structured work....Lee's admirably sympathetic portrait is as close to the Boswellian ideal as one could hope for."
"Lee delivers the goods in this absorbing and well-researched book....Lee adopts the perfect tone for Woolf aficionados: bracing, forthright, even confiding. Having sifted through volumes of correspondence, reminiscences and sometimes conflicting information, Lee debunks the wilder speculations about Woolf and draws reasonable conclusions about long-standing controversies....By calling into question the prevailing images of Woolf as madwoman, daffy genius or elitist snob, Lee paints the writer as far more nuanced than such distorted myths suggest."
"What gives Lee's biography its psychological distinction is her inventiveness in posing...unexpected but necessary questions and her patient elaboration of the tangled feelings that made Woolf such a complicated, entrancing, stubbornly elusive biographical subject....Although hers is an overwhelmingly heroic portrait, she does not attempt to minimize Woolf's vanity, her crippling self-consciousness and life-long dread of self-exposure....Lee inventories the myths..., retells the legendary 'moments' with a keen awareness of the gaps that may exist between an event and its recollection....Besides being the most psychologically acute, this is the most embodied life of Woolf we have. Lee wonderfully captures the physical impression Woolf made upon those who knew her..."
"Hermione Lee has written a discerning and utterly absorbing account of the cost of female genius and the interplay of the forces that shape an individual life (as well as the perception of that life). Although her biography has not uncovered any startling new facts, Ms. Lee's tone and level of interpretation are such that she has performed the impossible: she has rescued Virginia Woolf from her iconic standing and restored her to human dimensions....[W]e have a book worthy of its subject--graceful, astonishingly well researched, yet imbued with a sense of flow that is rarely achieved at this level of scholarship. Brimming with intelligence and excitement, it sets before us the idea of an electric mind, of indisputable greatness."
"Any new biographer of Woolf has to content with substantial obstacles: a mountain of material; numerous theses that have frozen Woolf into an icon...'and, most daunting of all, her own fierce battle against conventional narrative form. Lee's superb book overcomes all of them with one brilliant stroke, worthy of its subject...., juxtaposing sophisticated speculation with meticulous research, [resulting in a] palimpsest of disparate feelings and complex social and physical detail..."
"[I]t is an account through which one individual life is re-imagined and honored without bias or condescension. The writings themselves, at every turn, are linked to the life and illuminated by it. Professor Lee puts paid to a number of derogatory myths about Woolf's life...[and] shows Woolf's exhausting commitment to her work, her frugal way of life, her self-doubt, and her attitudes--tentative but honest--toward social and political issues. She shows her not as a delicate lady presiding over teacups but as a leader in a generation precariously inventing ways of living and writing for the twentieth century."
"Hermione Lee's book is centered on the importance of Woolf's work, and on the sources of her creativity. She shows that much of her 'madness'--her hallucinatory state and the voices she heard--contributed to her fiction. She suggests that some of Woolf's abnormal sensitivity to the reception of her novels derived from the fear that she might be thought crazy....The strength of Lee's biographical approach is her ability to accommodate clashing contradictions. She declines to oversimplify just in order to appear authoritative. There is no one correct version of any human being, and certainly not of Virginia Woolf....For the foreseeable future, it ['Virginia Woolf'] will be THE book to read about Virginia Woolf."
"Woolf herself said (in an essay on Shelley) that there are biographies that need to be rewritten for each generation. Lives change, and continue to change posthumously. Sincer her death in 1941, Woolf has shifted shape dramatically, appearing for a while as the frigid, fragile lady novelist criticized (with much sexual hostility)...then claimed by America as a heroine of revolutionary socialist feminism, while recently receiveing a battering in Britain...for being a reactionary elitist. When Lee embarked on her vision of the life five years ago, she had to contend with an established Woolf mythology: 'I have noticed that in the course of any conversation about this book I would, without fail, be asked one or more of the same four questions: Is it true that she was sexually abused as a child? What was her madness and why did she kill herself? Was Leonard a good or a wicked husband? Wasn't she the most terrible snob?' Lee answers with humour, patience and scrupulous schoalrship, and never (unlike Woolf) merely gossips."
From the Publisher
Annotation A comprehensive and magisterial biography of Virginia Woolf that emphasizes the reality of her life: her personal characteristics; her relationships with parents, husband, and friends; and the contradictions in her character. Lee is especially good at sifting objectively through the myths to get at the truth--and if the facts are vague or incomplete, she admirably resists the temptation to form conclusions.
Editors Note A richly layered portrait of the writer and the woman that leaves all of her complexities and contradictions intact. Such issues as sexual abuse, mental illness and suicide are brought into balance with the immensity of Woolf's literary achievement. of photos.
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0944
Publisher Vintage Books

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