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Book Title: A Haunted House and Other Short Stories|
The author of the book: Virginia Woolf
ISBN 13: 9780156394017
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 3.3
The size of the: 742 KB
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Edition: Mariner Books
Date of issue: March 23rd 1966
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“Safe, safe, safe,” the heart of the house beats proudly. “Long years—” he sighs. “Again you found me.” “Here,” she murmurs, “sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure—” Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. “Safe! safe! safe!” the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry “Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.”~The Haunted House "Come, dream with me," beckons Virginia Woolf in this collection of eighteen stories, some previously published, some unfinished and offered up posthumously by her husband, Leonard.
This is the sensation I had while reading—dreaming scenes that seemed perfectly normal at first, but which were beset by a surreality, a super-reality shimmering just beneath the surface, signaling not all is as it seems.
"Here is something definite, something real. Thus, waking from a midnight dream of horror, one hastily turns on the light and lies quiescent, worshipping the chest of drawers, worshipping solidity, worshipping reality, worshipping the impersonal world which is a proof of some existence other than ours.”~Monday or Tuesday This "worshipping the impersonal world which is a proof of some existence other than ours" is the theme at the heart of this collection. Woolf takes the impersonal world like a glass ball in her hands and cracks it open ever so slightly, revealing the chaos within.
In Kew Gardens, surely one of the finest in the collection, she juxtaposes the order of natural world with the disorder of human emotion.
Woolf shows in the tense and eerie The Mark on the Wall what the most minute shift of the kaleidoscope of our perspective can do to shape our chose reality.
A New Dress is an exercise in acute self-consciousness, a woman realizing, or imagining she knows, how she appears to others. It is a cruel and perceptive knife thrust at classism. “She was a fly, but the others were dragonflies, butterflies, beautiful insects, dancing, fluttering, skimming, while she alone dragged herself up out of the saucer.” Her skewering of Britain's gentry continues in the parodic The Shooting Party, which has a scene I had to read several times to make certain I understood what was happening. Why yes, the Squire does lash his whip about, causing Miss Rashleigh to fall into the fireplace, toppling the shield of the Rashleighs and a picture of King Edward. It's a laugh-out-loud moment of horror.
We talk about powerful opening lines in novel and short stories, but this. This may be one of my favorite closing lines, ever: "So that was the end of that marriage."~Lappin and Lapinova A devastating story of the fickle nature of . . . what? Love? Was there ever love here?
But speaking of opening lines, this one, belonging to The Lady in the Looking-Glass: A Reflection is sublime: “People should not leave looking-glasses hanging in their rooms any more then they should leave open cheque books or letters confessing some hideous crime.” It is also a perceptive and tragic story. One that will have you avoiding mirrors. For how can you trust what you see within? Is your reflection reality or a mistaken image of your own creation?
The Dalloways, particularly, Clarissa, make frequent appearances in this collection, as if Woolf had crafted small sketches, playing with her characters, trying to sort them out. I've not yet read Mrs. Dalloway, so perhaps the integration of these stories and the novel will become clear to me once I've put them all together.
Of all things, nothing is so strange as human intercourse, she thought, because of its changes, its extraordinary irrationality, her dislike being now nothing short of the most intense and rapturous love, but directly the word love occurred to her, she rejected it, thinking again how obscure the mind was, with its very few words for all these astonishing perceptions, these alternations of pain and pleasure. For how did one name this. That is what she felt now, the withdrawal of human affection, Serle’s disappearance, and the instant need they were both under to cover up what was so desolating and degrading to human nature that everyone tried to bury it decently from sight... ~Together and Apart From the voice of a character, yet one feels the author keening to uncover what society, the society of her time, wants to desperately to hide: the vulnerability of human emotion, the insistence on "worshiping the impersonal world" instead of acknowledging the very personal within and without ourselves.
A beautiful, raw, vulnerable collection of stories, rendered in language both intimate and abstract. I remain in awe of Woolf's ability to transcend the limits of the word and create something divine.
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Read information about the author(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.
During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929) with its famous dictum, "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
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