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Virginia Woolf: Jakobova soba

Virginia Woolf
Jakobova soba
Translated by Jana Unuk
224 pages
Format: 129x198 mm
Paperback
Year of publication: 2013
Edition Eho
ISBN 978-961-93382-5-4 / ISBN 978-961-94153-7-5 (epub)
Retail price: 24,90 €
Discount price: 12,90 €
E-book price: 4,99 €

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When in 1920 starting her third novel, Jacob's Room (1922), the great Modernist novelist Virginia Woolf was well aware that innovation in novel is closely connected to structure. Jacob's Room opens with space and deals with space: it does not simply tell a story of Jacob's prematurely ended life, but also about the eloquent emptiness of his room, resulting from his death in World War I. Jacob's Room is Virginia Woolf's first really experimental novel: in it, she omitted the solid construction of the classical novel and introduced fluid narration and fragmented narrative fabric. She also took care not to introduce any firm personal perspective, no omniscient narrator, while she used different perspectives in order to expose the evasive nature of human character and to show how it is impossible to sum anyone up. Jacob's Room is an urban novel, dealing with the anonymous, busy streets masses passing to and fro all over London. Jacob is first shown as a small boy on the beach, then as a Cambridge student and as a young man on a tourist trip to France, Italy and Greece, but always in glimpses and fragments. The non-omniscient narrator is additionaly separated from him by boundaries of age and sex and therefore far from creating any illusion of her power of representation.
The book is partly an elegy for Woolf's deceased brother Thoby, but Jacob Flanders is not an entirely positive hero. He is victim, but also representative of the hated and critisized patriarchal, male dominated, war producing society. As many most young men of his generation, Jacob conforms to the system which is to lead to his untimely death. He readily embraces opportunities of education, career, and conquering the world, which have never been offered to the novel's female protagonists. With Jacob's Room Virginia Woolf has found her own voice, her way of communicating her perception of »the flight of time« and of the world as a constant flux of changes.

Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen in 1882 in London. She was the third child of historian, editor, critic and biographer Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Duckworth Stephen. Both parents had been married before, and the household contained children of three marriages.  In her youth, she had experienced many painful bereavements: in 1895 her mother died, in 1897 her stepsister Stella Duckworth, in 1904 her father, and in 1906 – shortly following the siblings' travel to Greece – her brother Thoby. After her mother's death she experienced mental illness which kept returning throughout her lifetime. She gained education in her father's abundant library, in the years 1897–1901 she also studied Greek, Latin, German and history at King's College in London. After the death of their father, Virginia, her sister Vanessa and their brother Adrian moved to Bloomsbury, where together with their friends they gave rise to the influent Bloomsbury Group. In 1912 Virginia Stephen married writer Leonard Woolf. In March 1941, after she had completed  the manuscript of her last (posthumously published) novel Between the Acts, fearing German invasion, feeling depressed and suspecting another attack of mental illness, Virginia Woolf drowned herself in the river Ouse near her home in Rodmell, Sussex.
Virginia Woolf was one of the most prominent English and European Modernist writers and a great reformist of the English novel. In her experimental modernist prose, she had given up linear narration, applied intensely lyrical style, the stream of consciousness technique and swift changes of narrative perspective. But at the same time she maintained a vital dialogue with English literary tradition.  She wrote ten novels:  The Voyage Out (1915), Night and Day (1919), Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando (1928), The Waves (1931), Flush (1933), The Years (1937) and Between the Acts (posthumously, 1941). She also wrote short stories, essays, polemic essays: A Room of one's Own (1929), Three Guineas (1938), and diaries. 

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