Classics Challenge {June}

Here I am leaving my Classics Challenge post ’til the end of the month again. I left it late because I was hoping I’d have more material to work with for this month’s prompt the further I read in The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf. But the majority of the book takes place on a boat and Woolf is not much for describing the sea, so I’ve taken a few passages from the beginning of the novel to illustrate her writing.

First, here is the prompt: “Select a quote from the Classic you’re currently reading and create, what I call a visual tour.”

“The Embankment juts out in angles here and there, like pulpits; instead of preachers, however, small boys occupy them, dangling string, dropping pebbles or launching wads of paper for a cruise.”

“After watching the traffic on the Embankment for a minute or two with a stoical gaze she twitched her husband’s sleeve, and they crossed between the swift discharge of motor cars. When they were safe on the further side, she gently withdrew her arm from his , allowing her mouth at the same time to relax, to tremble; then tears rolled down, and leaning her elbows on the balustrade, she shielded her face from the curious.”

“Some one is always looking into the river near Waterloo Bridge; a couple will stand there talking for half an hour on a fine afternoon; most people, walking for pleasure, contemplate for three minutes; when, having compared the occasion with other occasions, or made some sentence, they pass on.”

These scenes take place at the very beginning of The Voyage Out as Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose are on their way to board a ship that will take them to South America. This was Woolf’s first published novel and I am enjoying it to this point. Her writing is a bit ponderous, but she is funny and it helps to lighten her prose. Have you read Woolf? What is your favorite Woolf novel?

*click on images to see credits.

9 thoughts on “Classics Challenge {June}

  1. I read Orlando years & years ago – all I can remember is tht I found it confusing and it didn’t immediately inspire me to read more of her work. You found some lovely images – I love historical postcards.


    1. I love historical postcards, too! I used to collect them and have some nice ones, but I haven’t run across any lately.
      The Voyage Out it not as experimental as Woolf’s later novels so it is easier to follow and has more of a straightforward narrative. I am too scared to try Orlando!


  2. Wish I could love Woolf, but her novels don’t really speak to me. I have heard the diaries are very readable so maybe I should try them. I do like a journal!


    1. I have read excerpts from her diaries and they are fascinating! She was very gossipy and forthright in her diaries and her life was a whirlwind of creativity. Very compelling stuff.


  3. I’ve enjoyed a few of Woolf’s novels, and I think one of my favorites might actually be Night and Day. It’s one of her earliest novels and less experimental than some of her more well known works. I’m sure some critics would probably dismiss it for just that reason, but I liked it a lot.


    1. The Voyage Out isn’t very experimental either, but I can see flashes of her famous style in many of the scenes. I am really enjoying her writing so would be willing to try some of her later novels that are more challenging to read.


  4. Virginia Woolf may be my favorite writer. I love her novels, especially “To the Lighthouse” and “Mrs. Dalloway.” Her writing, in those two books especially, is just beautiful. I’ve read all of her letters (six volumes!) and her diaries. The letters are so good! They really give you an insight into life at the time in England, especially amongst the cutting-edge writers and artists of that time. And even her letters were little masterpieces! Enjoy!


    1. Sunday, I really respect your reading recommendations so I will persevere with The Voyage Out and definitely try some of her other novels as well. I do respect her very much as a woman and I would like to one day respect her writing also. I will see if I can find a book of her letters. They sound wonderful!


  5. be honest I read to the lighthouse and just didn’t get it but it was over twenty years ago ,I did recently get two of her books so will be trying her again ,love the picture view of book ideas and the lovely old shots of London ,all the best stu


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