PDF Ú BOOK Between the Acts

EPUB õ Between the Acts ó Virginia Woolf

In Woolf's last novel the action takes place on one summer's day in 1939 at Pointz Hall a country house in the he Fragments of life’s rich pageant Sharp witty vital brilliant With Between the acts Woolf sings an eudaimonic valediction to her readers and finally to life as Woolf was still working on the final revisions when she walked into the Ouse and the novel was published by Leonard Woolf four months after her death Although sometimes perceived as unfinished and jokingly referred to as her ‘Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman’ she gave birth to a full term child A full blown proficient novel meant to pay homage to literature and to England’s charm While writing the novel she says in her diary on the 24th of December 1940 she feels in the Sussex countryside ‘how England consoles warms one’At the core there is a dramatic piece the annual pageant played by the villagers upon the grounds of a fictitious English country house Pointz Hall attended by the local villagers and the Oliver family members living in the house representing scenes touching on the literature and history of England set in the Interbellum period ‘between the acts’Does this sound like tedious obsolete bluestockingish stuff to you? Well it isn’t The deceptively idyllic overly traditional setting and the play are a pretext to some exuisite vivid and playful distillation and exploration of ambivalent human moods and experiences bristling with Woolf’s sly derisive and subtle humor and social criticism The eye is barely directed to the spectacle as such but focuses on what happens before between and after the acts on what commonly passes by unnoticed the thoughts observations and emotions that come to us when we are alone and where we do not speak about The substance of the novel is not to be found on the pageant’s stage satirizing England’s heroic past but in the polyphony of the fragmented inner voices dispersed in the audience attending the play Juxtaposing and confronting apparently trivial everyday concerns like talks about the weather and the food with most significant moments present and past rationality and spirituality art and nature author and audience Woolf evokes life’s rich pageant through refined psychological and suggestive depictions of her characters handling them with great empathy and careThe musicality of her mercurial prose and the ingenious composition reminded me of Toccata a choreography on the music of Bach danced by Rosas the dance company of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker a Belgian choreographer which I admire dancers moving like counterpoint melody lines sometimes interfering touching each other then drifting apart like the scraps of conversation between Woolfs’s characters and their transient trains of thought I imagine Woolf as the omnipresent simultaneous resonating voices of Bach the pianist and the choreographer conducting and directing the ephemeral movements minds and bodies of the dancing characters For I hear music they were saying Music wakes us Music makes us see the hidden join the broken Look and listen See the flowers how they ray their redness whiteness silverness and blue And the trees with their many tongued much syllabling their green and yellow leaves hustle us and shuffle us and bid us like the starlings and the rooks come together crowd together to chatter and make merry while the red cow moves forward and the black cow stands stillEvidently academic research thoroughly scrutinized the abundant themes motives and techniues Woolf packed in this concise novel inviting to a second and third reading Aware it is impossible to grasp it fully at this first reading here is what stays with me now the wonderful evocation of the archetypical rural English landscape; the people living on the brink of war again metaphorized by the loveliness of birds shifting into grim bombers; the people living on the verge of transition their world crumbling and collapsing by modernity a world that will wither like the profuse flowers adorning the park of Pointz Hall recalling Vita’s dazzling Sissinghurst gardens The magnificent radiant languageBeyond the lily pool the ground sank again and in that dip of the ground bushes and brambles had mobbed themselves together It was always shady; sun flecked in the summer dark and damp in winter In the summer there were always butterflies; fritillaries darting through; Red Admirals feasting and floating; cabbage whites unambitiously fluttering round a bush like muslin milkmaids content to spend a life thereAnd the characters of course of which the women are the most appealing and intriguing according to a feminist study the men in the novel belong to ‘exhausted patriarchy’ showing resembling traits to real women we ostensibly all know the blatant in your face voluptuousness of the buoyant Mrs Manresa turning on the old and the young men with her frivolous airs and graces; beautifully contrasted with the lyrical melancholic sensuality of Isa Oliver the daughter in law jealous “a captive balloon pegged down on a chair arm by a myriad of hair thin ties into domesticity”; Isa’s cynical restless frustrated grumpy husband Giles Oliver the only person aware of the impending war; his rationalist father Bartholomew Oliver and his widowed sibling Lucy Swithin a moving ageing woman intensely spiritual sensitive to natural mystic; William Dodge the nervous companion of Mrs Manresa with “artistic leanings”; Miss la Trobe the outcast artist and director of the playI was enthralled by the recurrent image of a thread connecting the characters a masterful leitmotiv visualizing the pas de deux between the characters that will take place in the greenhouse during the interludes to the play ”The wild child afloat once on the tide of the old man's benignity looked over her coffee cup at Giles with whom she felt in conspiracy A thread united them visible invisible like those threads now seen now not that unite trembling grass blades in autumn before the sun rises She had met him once only at a cricket match And then had been spun between them an early morning thread before the twigs and leaves of real friendship emerge”Was she referring to her pending death when she entered the legend of the drowned lady into the book? Her untimely death could easily rouse the usual hineininterpretierung However the joyous and playful tone seems to gainsay that morbid interpretation Adumbrating definitely the gloom of imminent war and suffering the novel is a hymn of praise to life being full of pleasure passion and imagination Just read this let her take you eight miles high with her in the flight to the higher realms of celestial beauty and imagination Listen to her symphony A swan song and farewell performance indicating that not only Bowie could leave the stage as a genius Warning you might end up a Woolfie image error

EPUB Between the Acts

Between the ActsEral disparate characters and their reactions to the imminence of a war which is to change the pattern of history Not my favorite novel by Woolf—not by a longshot—but as the unanticipated terminus for one of literature’s great oeuvres it strikes an incredibly powerful and poignant note its deliberate hard fought expansiveness resisting any sense of finality or closure indeed the end is revealed to be just another beginning On this reading I was struck with how the novel itself feels positioned at a stylistic juncture an attempt to fuse together the gorgeously abstracted solilouies of The Waves with the intimate representation of inner consciousness showcased in Mrs Dalloway Orlando and most particularly To the Lighthouse I’m not convinced everything attempted actually works—it all sometimes feels like a fascinating experiment rather than a full expression of mastery—but it also feels like the kind of creation that retrospectively turns out to be a threshold to other things Of course in this case we’ll never know what those other things could possibly have been; as Leonard Woolf’s prefatory note acknowledges its author was dead before the inevitable final revisions could be made So just to get my critiues out of the way the uotation of long passages of text being performed at the pageant just don’t ever feel fully integrated into the overall narrative—I’m not inherently against the idea of extended uotation but they almost felt like place cards intended to hold place for something else Also the various characters seem to function as archetypal “types” than individuated “people” and though they signal their various concerns and struggles and thought processes but they feel like well a cast performing lines rather than embodied entities That said the distancing effect was certainly Woolf’s intention as the narrative itself not only sets out to blur distinctions between the generic markers of fiction and drama but is just one of many boundary lines Woolf plays with those separating audience and performer and even author and reader when it comes to generating meaning There’s a wonderful moment towards the pageant’s climax when a mirror is produced on stage and the narrative voice shifts pronouns shifting from “them” to “ourselves” “a burst of applause greeted this flattering tribute to ourselves” It’s a subtle alteration but the effect is jarring and it immediately begs the uestion of who exactly “ourselves” refers to The audience watching the pageant within the text of course but the reader also is being intentionally imbricated here and I imagine the author is including herself as well In my first status update during my reading I also noted how ueer this book struck me at this time around; during my first reading some ten years ago I was not in the place to detect alternate meanings to William Dodge’s silent confession that he’s “a half man” or Miss La Trobe’s complaint that “she was an outcast” and that “nature had somehow set her apart from her kind” But apart from covert ueer representation—and rather depressing ones at that—there’s also something weird and rather ueer about the way Woolf attempts to present time throughout Between the Acts with the constant sometimes startling crash between the historical past and the tenuous present with rumblings of upcoming war wafting nervously in the air Time cycles restlessly throughout the text always refusing to march linearly forward instead trying to slip into ambiguous temporal spaces As well as impending war there’s also the long shadow Woolf’s death casts across the text—would the text seem uite as elegiac as it does if Woolf had lived and written texts after it? An impossible uestion and one undermined somewhat by the text itself which continuously waves off the past and even the future to place the emphasis instead on the present moment This moment “The hands of the clock had stopped at the present moment” the narrative trumpets “It was now Ourselves” And when exactly is “now?” The “now” of the text? The “now” of the words first written upon a piece of paper? The “now” of the reader reading the words? For the briefest of instants the present moment manages to contain them all Second reading

Virginia Woolf ó Between the Acts EPUB

PDF Ú BOOK Between the Acts è In Woolf's last novel the action takes place on one summer's day in 1939 at Pointz Hall a country house in the heart of England where the villagers are presenting their annual pageantThe book weaves together the musings of several disparate characters and their reactions to the imminence of a war which is to change the pattArt of England where the villagers are presenting their annual pageantThe book weaves together the musings of sev I have a real sense of regret here with this final book of Virginia Woolf I personally feel that it should not have been published The poor woman was mentally unwell perhaps due to the strain of writing this final work? Who knows Her permisson had not been given to publish it either Still many other people love this book and that's the main thingThis is a fascinating individual who wrote the most superb Diaries and Letters I love them and they are a great source of joy to meIn conclusion I would add that I'm surprised that a film has not been made perhaps it has and I am unaware of it of the final years of Woolf's life It would be fascinating Such remarkable characters as her sister Vanessa other members of the Bloomsbury Group