I've just finished reading another Virginia Woolf novel. The Waves was wonderful; every bit as good as To The Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway. (Worth noting: the University of Adelaide Library’s collection of Web books [] has the entire text of The Waves online as well as lots of other goodies.) I'll think and write about the book over the weekend. In the meantime, this from an essay by Lisa Marie Lucenti:

Pamela Caughie writes that "Woolf's characters and narrators do not present a consistent theory of self and world. Instead, they make us self-conscious of theorizing about self and world by making the narrative strategies self-conscious." With such slippery characters to work with, it is perhaps less important -- or even feasible -- to try to define the form of Woolf's subjects than to trace a few of their paths and crossings. To do so is an even greater challenge when, as Bernard says in The Waves, "We melt into each other with phrases.... We make an insubstantial territory". In this novel, six "characters" or voices alternate between acceptance and rejection of their own insubstantiality. And, Woolf would have us realize, her characters are not alone in this struggle, since they are caught within the most basic and most irresolvable questions of ontology -- what it means to be and how one goes about that business.

Readers Comments

  1. wonderful, astute notes on The Waves, Mark!

  2. The Waves is my very favorite novel of Woolf' utter masterpiece. Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.




Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.