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Winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt award for biography, this remarkable portrait sheds new light on Virginia Woolf's relationships with her family and friends and how they shaped her work. Virginia Woolf: A Portrait blends recently unearthed documents, key primary sources, and personal interviews with Woolf's relatives and other acquaintances to render in unmatched detail the author's complicated relationship with her husband, Leonard; her father, Leslie Stephen; and her half-sister, Vanessa Bell. Forrester connects these figures to Woolf's mental breakdown while introducing the concept of "Virginia seule," or Virginia alone: an uncommon paragon of female strength and conviction. Forrester's biography inhabits her characters and vivifies their perspective, weaving a colorful, intense drama that forces readers to rethink their understanding of Woolf, her writing, and her world.
Viviane Forrester (1925-2013) was a writer, essayist, novelist, and literary critic. She worked for Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, and Quinzaine littéraire and was a member of the jury of the Prix Femina. She translated Virginia Woolf's essay "Three Guineas" and is the author of The Economic Horror, Van Gogh ou l'Enterrement dans les blés, and Une etrange dictature.
Jody Gladding is a poet who has translated some thirty works from French.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Abbreviations Notes Works Cited Index
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With psychological subtlety, critical sophistication, and the novelist's art, Viviane Forrester's intimate family biography portrays the suffering, creating Virginia Woolf as a writer of genius and a woman of great personal strength and courage. Forrester's page-turner of a narrative tracks Woolf's richly documented life as it unfolds within a complex web of relationships, re-created in new depth and meaning by Forrester's vivid, lyrical, beautifully translated prose. A provocative and very welcome contribution to our understanding of Woolf's life and work.
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