Virginia Woolf, Hardback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Alexandra Harris' hugely acclaimed book "Romantic Moderns" (winner of the 2010 "Guardian" First Book Award) overturned our picture of modernist culture during the interwar years.

In this, her second book, she brings her attention to one of the towering figures of literary modernism.

It is an intensely pleasurable read that weaves together the life and work of Virginia Woolf, and serves as an ideal introduction to both.

Following the chronology of Woolf's life, it considers each of the novels in context, gives due prominence to her dazzlingly inventive essays, traces the contentious course of her afterlife and shows why, seventy years after her death, Virginia Woolf continues to haunt and inspire us.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192 pages, 46 illustrations
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: literary
  • ISBN: 9780500515921

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

The author has certainly achieved her goal. This biography contains enough information to get an idea of who Virginia Woolf was, what she stood for, and if she stood for anything. It is very clearly an introduction to her life and work, and by no means a complete biography - which it doesn't claim to be. The writing is very fluent - I finished it in one day. Even though I've been 'obsessed' with Virginia Woolf for a few years now, there are still some pictures I haven't seen yet. I hope Alexandra Harris continues to write about Virginia Woolf.

Review by

Short, sharp introduction to Woolf's life and work, with lots of photos. Despite this, Ms Harris writes with a sophisticated enough style to suit both academics and general readers. She also does what the more expansive 90s biog by Hermione Lee can't - updates the legacy of Woolf to suggest that the Hollywood film The Hours unfairly simplifies Woolf as mentally ill, self-absorbed and intense. All of which was true from time to time, but is rather unfair to her other, less filmic characteristics: she was also witty, hard working, innovative, sociable and progressive. Harris also manages to squeeze in a thesis of her own: that Woolf ultimately eludes any attempt to pin her down one way or another, and that this quality is the key to her continuing popularity today.

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