7 Great Virginia Woolf Books

Virginia Woolf Books: Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device. We hope that you enjoy our list of the best Virginia Woolf Books.

Virginia Woolf Books

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

“Twelve times a week,” answered Uta Hagen, when asked how often she’d like to play Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Like her, audiences and critics alike could not get enough of Edward Albee’s masterful play. A dark comedy, it portrays husband and wife George and Martha in a searing night of dangerous fun and games. By the evening’s end, a stunning, almost unbearable revelation provides a climax that has shocked audiences for years. With the play’s razor-sharp dialogue and the stripping away of social pretense, Newsweek rightly foresaw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as “a brilliantly original work of art—an excoriating theatrical experience, surging with shocks of recognition and dramatic fire [that] will be igniting Broadway for some time to come.”

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Though its fame as an icon of twentieth-century literature rests primarily on the brilliance of its narrative technique and the impressionistic beauty of its prose, To the Lighthouse is above all the story of a quest, and as such it possesses a brave and magical universality.

 

Observed across the years at their vacation house facing the gales of the North Atlantic, Mrs. Ramsay and her family seek to recapture meaning from the flux of things and the passage of time. Though it is the death of Mrs. Ramsay on which the novel turns, her presence pervades every page in a poetic evocation of loss and memory that is also a celebration of domestic life and its most intimate details. Virginia Woolf’s great book enacts a powerful allegory of the creative consciousness and its momentary triumphs over fleeting material life.

Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee

What choices must a biographer make when stitching the pieces of a life into one coherent whole? How do we best create an accurate likeness of a private life from the few articles that linger after death? How do we choose what gets left out? This intriguing and witty collection of essays by an internationally acclaimed biographer looks at how biography deals with myths and legends, what goes missing and what can’t be proved in the story of a life. Virginia Woolf’s Nose presents a variety of case-studies, in which literary biographers are faced with gaps and absences, unprovable stories and ambiguities surrounding their subjects. By looking at stories about Percy Bysshe Shelley’s shriveled, burnt heart found pressed between the pages of a book, Jane Austen’s fainting spell, Samuel Pepys’s lobsters, and the varied versions of Virginia Woolf’s life and death, preeminent biographer Hermione Lee considers how biographers deal with and often utilize these missing body parts, myths, and contested data to “fill in the gaps” of a life story

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Maureen Howard

In Mrs. Dalloway, the novel on which the movie The Hours was based, Virginia Woolf details Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life. The novel contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century” (Michael Cunningham).”

All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf by Katharine Smyth

Katharine Smyth was a student at Oxford when she first read Virginia Woolf’s modernist masterpiece To the Lighthouse in the comfort of an English sitting room, and in the companionable silence she shared with her father. After his death—a calamity that claimed her favorite person—she returned to that beloved novel as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief.

Smyth’s story moves between the New England of her childhood and Woolf’s Cornish shores and Bloomsbury squares, exploring universal questions about family, loss, and homecoming. Through her inventive, highly personal reading of To the Lighthouse, and her artful adaptation of its groundbreaking structure, Smyth guides us toward a new vision of Woolf’s most demanding and rewarding novel—and crafts an elegant reminder of literature’s ability to clarify and console.

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister—a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. If only she had found the means to create, argues Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling.

In this classic essay, Woolf takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without. Her message is a simple one: women must have a steady income and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create.

Genius and Ink: Virginia Woolf on How to Read by Virginia Woolf, Ali Smith

In the early years of its existence, the Times Literary Supplement published some of the finest writers in English: T. S. Eliot, Henry James and E. M. Forster among them. But one of the paper’s defining voices was Virginia Woolf, who produced a string of superb essays between the two World Wars.

The weirdness of Elizabethan plays, the pleasure of revisiting favourite novels, the supreme examples of Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Henry James, Thomas Hardy and Joseph Conrad: all are here, in anonymously published pieces, in which may be glimpsed the thinking behind Woolf’s works of fiction and the enquiring, feminist spirit of A Room of One’s Own.

Here is Woolf the critical essayist, offering, at one moment, a playful hypothesis and, at another, a judgement laid down with the authority of a twentieth-century Dr Johnson. Here is Woolf working out precisely what’s great about Hardy, and how Elizabeth Barrett Browning made books a “substitute for living” because she was “forbidden to scamper on the grass”. Above all, here is Virginia Woolf the reader, whose enthusiasm for great literature remains palpable and inspirational today.