The Common Reader: Volume 1
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The Common Reader: Volume 1

4.17 (1,084 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is Virginia Woolf's first collection of essays, published in 1925. In them, she attempts to see literature from the point of view of the 'common reader' - someone whom she, with Dr Johnson, distinguished from the critic and the scholar. She read, and wrote, as an outsider: a woman set to school in her father's library, denied the educational privileges of her male siblings - and with no fixed view of what constitutes 'English Literature'. What she produced is an eccentric and unofficial literary and social history from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, with an excursion to ancient Greece thrown in. She investigates medieval England, tsarist Russia, Elizabethan playwrights, Victorian novelists and modern essayists. When she published this book Woolf's fame as a novelist was already established: now she was hailed as a brilliant interpretative critic. Here, she addresses her 'common reader' in the remarkable prose and with all the imagination and gaiety that are the stamp of her genius.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 20mm | 199.58g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • Vintage Classics
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 009944366X
  • 9780099443667
  • 152,787

Review quote

"Virginia Woolf was a great writer. Her voice is distinctive; her style is her own; her work is an active influence on other writers and a subtle influence on what we have come to expect from modern literature" -- Jeanette Winterson "Virginia Woolf was one of the great innovators of that decade of literary Modernism, the 1920s. Novels such as Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse showed how experimental writing could reshape our sense of ordinary life. Taking unremarkable materials - preparations for a genteel party, a day on a bourgeois family holiday - they trace the flow of associations and ideas that we call "consciousness"" * Guardian * "Virginia Woolf stands as the chief figure of modernism in England and must be included with Joyce and Proust in the realisation of experimental achievements that have completely broken with tradition" * New York Times *show more

About Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, first editor of The Dictionary of National Biography. From 1915, when she published her first novel, The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf maintained an astonishing output of fiction, literary criticism, essays and biography. In 1912 she married Leonard Woolf, and in 1917 they founded The Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf suffered a series of mental breakdowns throughout her life, and on 28 March 1941 she committed suicide.show more

Review Text

"Virginia Woolf stands as the chief figure of modernism in England and must be included with Joyce and Proust in the realisation of experimental achievements that have completely broken with tradition"show more

Rating details

1,084 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 43% (462)
4 37% (399)
3 17% (181)
2 3% (36)
1 1% (6)
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