Carlyle's House and Other Sketches

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Hesperus, 2003 - Fiction - 52 pages
Carlyle’s House and Other Sketches marks the first publication of one of Virginia Woolf’s very earliest notebooks. Recently unearthed from a collection of private papers, it contains a series of six striking and semi–autobiographical sketches, each transcribed and edited by Dr. David Bradshaw.

From the cold formality of London town–houses with their rows of austere portraits, to the dull chaos of the academic’s abode, and the eccentric spinster’s Hampstead home, Virginia Woolf paints a series of portraits of everyday life, capturing character and setting in exquisite detail. Experimental in style, and heralding the later masterpieces Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, this early notebook is quintessential Woolf.

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About the author (2003)

Virginia Woolf was born in London, the daughter of the prominent literary critic Leslie Stephen. She never received a formal university education; her early education was obtained at home through her parents and governesses. After death of her father in 1904, her family moved to Bloomsbury, where they formed the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of philosophers, writers and artists. As a writer, Woolf was a great experimenter. She scorned the traditional narrative form and turned to expressionism as a means of telling her story. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927), her two generally acknowledged masterpieces, are stream-of-consciousness novels in which most of the action and conflict occur beneath a surface of social decorum. Mrs. Dalloway, set in London shortly after the end of World War I, takes place on a summer's day of no particular significance, except that intense emotion, insanity, and death intrude.To the Lighthouse's long first and third sections, each of which concerns one day 10 years apart, of the same family's summer holidays, are separated and connected by a lyrical short section during which the war occurs, several members of the family die, and decay and corruption run rampant. Orlando (1928) is the chronological life story of a person who begins as an Elizabethan gentleman and ends as a lady of the twentieth century; Woolf's friend, Victoria Sackville-West, served as the principal model for the multiple personalities. (The book was made into a movie in 1993.) Flush (1933) is a dog's soliloquy that, by indirection, recounts the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their elopement and life in Florence. Her last short novel, Between the Acts (1941), was left without her final revision, but it is, nonetheless, a major representation of a society on the verge of collapse. Having had periods of depression throughout her life and fearing a final mental breakdown from which she might not recover, Woolf drowned herself in 1941. Her husband published part of her farewell letter to deny that she had taken her life because she could not face the terrible times of war. Leonard Woolf also edited A Writer's Diary (1953), which provides valuable insights into his wife's private thoughts and literary development. Equally informative are his own autobiographies, particularly Beginning Again and Downhill All the Way (1967), and The Letters of Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey . Virginia Woolf's Granite and Rainbow contains 27 essays on the art of fiction and biography. There are many sidelights on Woolf in the writings, letters, and biographies of other members of her Bloomsbury circle, such as Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes (see Vol. 3), and Lytton Strachey (see Vol. 3). Also casting much light on her life, thought, and creative processes are The Common Reader (1925), The Second Common Reader (1933), A Room of One's Own (1929), Three Guineas (1938), The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), and various collections of her autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters. In addition, in recent years there has been a veritable industry of writers dealing with Woolf and her work.

Doris Lessing was born in Kermanshah, Persia (later Iran) on October 22, 1919 and grew up in Rhodesia (the present-day Zimbabwe). During her two marriages, she submitted short fiction and poetry for publication. After moving to London in 1949, she published her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, in 1950. She is best known for her 1954 Somerset Maugham Award-winning experimental novel The Golden Notebook. Her other works include This Was the Old Chief's Country, the Children of Violence series, the Canopus in Argos - Archives series, and Alfred and Emily. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2001 Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, the David Cohen British Literature Prize, and the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. She died on November 17, 2013 at the age of 94.

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