Customer Reviews for

Night and Day (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2007

    A Few Good Thoughts

    For those of you who have disdain for vanity publishers, as the self-published authors are occasionally called, be advised that much of Virginia Woolf¿s work was self-published through the Hogarth Press. She has been hailed as one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century and one of the foremost Modernists, though she disdained some artists in this category. Woolf is considered one of the greatest innovators in the English language. In her works she experimented with stream-of-consciousness, the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of characters, and the various possibilities of fractured narrative and chronology. Her literary achievements and creativity are influential even today. Historic London is the setting of Night and Day. The novel and its characters center around one place in particular the Hilbery home, an eighteenth-century house built on the Thames riverfront in Chelsea, London, a house that doubles as the literary shrine for a great Victorian poet, Richard Alardyce. The emotionally strained and serious Katharine Hilbery gives an American visitor a tour of her poet grandfather's study in the presence of her former fiance. This room is both a 'religious temple' devoted to Richard Alardyce and a commercial showroom for which she is the 'show-woman' of remains not for sale. Katharine, preoccupied by the interruption of feelings into her life, guides the American through the collection inattentively, thus rendering the effusive American's enthusiasm absurd. This bewildered pilgrim and the home's other specimens--Katharine Hilbery's father, an influential editor of a literary journal her mother, an energetic though disarranged steward of her poet-father's memory and their circle of visitors who cannot abide living writers--all point to a critique of a literary establishment and its morbid maintenance of the literary past as the only worthwhile present. Night and Day is a portrait of Virginia Woolf's and (her sister) Vanessa Bell's family home at Hyde Park Gate, ruled by Leslie Stephen, who, as an influential man of letters and steward to the Victorian literary establishment, is Mr. and Mrs. Hilbery combined. ¿ ¿He received her assurance with profound joy. Quietly and steadily there rose up behind the whole aspect of life that soft edge of fire which gave its red tint to the atmosphere and crowded the scene with shadows so deep and dark that one could fancy pushing farther into their density and still farther, exploring indefinitely.¿ Woolf's reputation declined sharply after World War II, but her eminence was re-established with the surge of Feminist criticism in the 1970s. After a few more ideologically based altercations, not least caused by claims that Woolf was anti-semitic and a snob, it seems that a critical consensus has been reached regarding her stature as a novelist. Virginia Woolf's peculiarities as a fiction writer have tended to obscure her central strength. The intensity of Virginia Woolf's poetic vision elevates the ordinary, sometimes banal settings of most of her novels, even as they are often set in an environment of war. For example, Mrs. Dalloway (1925) centres on the efforts of Clarissa Dalloway, a middle-aged society woman, to organize a party, even as her life is paralleled with that of Septimus Warren Smith, a working-class veteran who has returned from the First World War bearing deep psychological scars. To the Lighthouse (1927) is set on two days ten years apart. The plot centers around the Ramsay family's anticipation of and reflection upon a visit to a lighthouse and the connected familial tensions. One of the primary themes of the novel is the struggle in the creative process that beset painter Lily Briscoe while she struggles to paint in the midst of the family drama. The novel is also a meditation upon the lives of a nation's inhabitants in the midst of war, and of the people left behind. The Waves (1931) presents a group of six friends whose reflections, which

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