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The Voyage Out

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf
By: (1882-1941)

The Voyage Out is the first novel by Virginia Woolf, published in 1915 by Duckworth; and published in the U.S. in 1920 by Doran. One of Woolf's wittiest social satires.

Rachel Vinrace embarks for South America on her father's ship and is launched on a course of self-discovery in a kind of modern mythical voyage. The mismatched jumble of passengers provide Woolf with an opportunity to satirize Edwardian life. The novel introduces Clarissa Dalloway, the central character of Woolf's later novel, Mrs. Dalloway.

E. M. Forster described it as "... a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South America not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an America whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis... It is absolutely unafraid... Here at last is a book which attains unity as surely as Wuthering Heights, though by a different path."

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by Virginia Woolf (1882 1941)

Chapter I

As the streets that lead from the Strand to the Embankment are very narrow, it is better not to walk down them arm in arm. If you persist, lawyers' clerks will have to make flying leaps into the mud; young lady typists will have to fidget behind you. In the streets of London where beauty goes unregarded, eccentricity must pay the penalty, and it is better not to be very tall, to wear a long blue cloak, or to beat the air with your left hand.

One afternoon in the beginning of October when the traffic was becoming brisk a tall man strode along the edge of the pavement with a lady on his arm. Angry glances struck upon their backs. The small, agitated figures for in comparison with this couple most people looked small decorated with fountain pens, and burdened with despatch boxes, had appointments to keep, and drew a weekly salary, so that there was some reason for the unfriendly stare which was bestowed upon Mr. Ambrose's height and upon Mrs. Ambrose's cloak... Continue reading book >>

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