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Katherine Hilbery, torn between past and present, is a figure reflecting Woolf's own struggle with history. Both have illustrious literary ancestors: in Katherine's case, her poet grandfather, and in Woolf's, her father Leslie Stephen, writer, philosopher, and editor. Both desire to break away from the demands of the previous generation without disowning it altogether. Katherine must decide whether or not she loves the iconoclastic Ralph Denham; Woolf seeks a way of
experimenting with the novel for that still allows her to express her affection for the literature of the past.
This is the most traditional of Woolf's novels, yet even here we can see her beginning to break free; in this, her second novel, with its strange mixture of comedy and high seriousness, Woolf had already found her own characteristic voice.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Together these ten volumes make an attractive and reasonably priced (the volumes vary between GBP3.99 and GBP4.99) working edition of Virginia Woolf's best-known writing. One can only hope that their success will prompt World's Classics to add her other essays to the series in due course.'
Elisabeth Jay, Westminster College, Oxford, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLV, No. 178, May '94