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The Voyage Out (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Virginia Woolf

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Chapter I

As the streets that lead from the Strand to the Embankment are very narrow, it is better not to walk down them arm-in-arm. If you persist, lawyers’ clerks will have to make flying leaps into the mud; young lady typists will have to fidget behind you. In the streets of London where beauty goes unregarded, eccentricity must pay the penalty, and it is better not to be very tall, to wear a long blue cloak, or to beat the air with your left hand.

One afternoon in the beginning of October when the traffic was becoming brisk a tall man strode along the edge of the pavement with a lady on his arm. Angry glances struck upon their backs. The small, agitated figures—for in comparison with this couple most people looked small—decorated with fountain pens, and burdened with despatch-boxes, had appointments to keep, and drew a weekly salary, so that there was some reason for the unfriendly stare which was bestowed upon Mr. Ambrose’s height and upon Mrs. Ambrose’s cloak. But some enchantment had put both man and woman beyond the reach of malice. In his case one might guess from the moving lips that it was thought; and in hers from the eyes fixed stonily straight in front of her at a level above the eyes of most that it was sorrow. It was only by scorning all she met that she kept herself from tears, and the friction of people brushing past her was evidently painful. 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. Mr. Ambrose attempted consolation; he patted her shoulder; but she showed no signs of admitting him, and feeling it awkward to stand beside a grief that was greater than his, he crossed his arms behind him, and took a turn along the pavement.

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. With their sharp eye for eccentricity, they were inclined to think Mr. Ambrose awful; but the quickest witted cried “Bluebeard!” as he passed. In case they should proceed to tease his wife, Mr. Ambrose flourished his stick at them, upon which they decided that he was grotesque merely, and four instead of one cried “Bluebeard!” in chorus.

Although Mrs. Ambrose stood quite still, much longer than is natural, the little boys let her be. 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. Sometimes the flats and churches and hotels of Westminster are like the outlines of Constantinople in a mist; sometimes the river is an opulent purple, sometimes mud-colored, sometimes sparkling blue like the sea. It is always worth while to look down and see what is happening. But this lady looked neither up nor down; the only thing she had seen, since she stood there, was a circular iridescent patch slowly floating past with a straw in the middle of it. The straw and the patch swam again and again behind the tremulous medium of a great welling tear, and the tear rose and fell and dropped into the river. Then there struck close upon her ears—

Lars Porsena of Clusium

By the nine Gods he swore—

and then more faintly, as if the speaker had passed her on his walk—

That the Great House of Tarquin

Should suffer wrong no more.

Yes, she knew she must go back to all that, but at present she must weep. Screening her face she sobbed more steadily than she had yet done, her shoulders rising and falling with great regularity. It was this figure that her husband saw when, having reached the polished Sphinx, having entangled himself with a man selling picture postcards, he turned; the stanza instantly stopped. He came up to her, laid his hand on her shoulder, and said, “Dearest.” His voice was supplicating. But she shut her face away from him, as much as to say, “You can’t possibly understand.”

As he did not leave her, however, she had to wipe her eyes, and to raise them to the level of the factory chimneys on the other bank. She saw also the arches of Waterloo Bridge and the carts moving across them, like the line of animals in a shooting gallery. They were seen blankly, but to see anything was of course to end her weeping and begin to walk.

“I would rather walk,” she said, her husband having hailed a cab already occupied by two city men.

The fixity of her mood was broken by the action of walking. The shooting motor cars, more like spiders in the moon than terrestrial objects, the thundering drays, the jingling hansoms, and little black broughams, made her think of the world she lived in. Somewhere up there above the pinnacles where the smoke rose in a pointed hill, her children were now asking for her, and getting a soothing reply. As for the mass of streets, squares, and public buildings which parted them, she only felt at this moment how little London had done to make her love it, although thirty of her forty years had been spent in a street. She knew how to read the people who were passing her; there were the rich who were running to and from each others’ houses at this hour; there were the bigoted workers driving in a straight line to their offices; there were the poor who were unhappy and rightly malignant. Already, though there was sunlight in the haze, tattered old men and women were nodding off to sleep upon the seats. When one gave up seeing the beauty that clothed things, this was the skeleton beneath.

A fine rain now made her still more dismal; vans with the odd names of those engaged in odd industries—Sprules, Manufac-turer of Saw-dust; Grabb, to whom no piece of waste paper comes amiss—fell flat as a bad joke; bold lovers, sheltered behind one cloak, seemed to her sordid, past their passion; the flower women, a contented company, whose talk is always worth hearing, were sodden hags; the red, yellow, and blue flowers, whose heads were pressed together, would not blaze. Moreover, her husband, walking with a quick rhythmic stride, jerking his free hand occasionally, was either a Viking or a stricken Nelson; the sea-gulls had changed his note.

“Ridley, shall we drive? Shall we drive, Ridley?”

Mrs. Ambrose had to speak sharply; by this time he was far away.

The cab, by trotting steadily along the same road soon withdrew them from the West End, and plunged them into London. It appeared that this was a great manufacturing place, where the people were engaged in making things, as though the West End, with its electric lamps, its vast plate-glass windows all shining yellow, its carefully-finished houses, and tiny live figures trotting on the pavement, or bowled along on wheels in the road, was the finished work. It appeared to her a very small bit of work for such an enormous factory to have made. For some reason it appeared to her as a small golden tassel on the edge of a vast black cloak.

Observing that they passed no other hansom cab, but only vans and waggons, and that not one of the thousand men and women she saw was either a gentleman or a lady, Mrs. Ambrose understood that after all it is the ordinary thing to be poor, and that London is the city of innumerable poor people. Startled by this discovery and seeing herself pacing a circle all the days of her life round Piccadilly Circus she was greatly relieved to pass a building put up by the London County Council for Night Schools.

“Lord, how gloomy it is!” her husband groaned. “Poor creatures!”

What with misery for her children, the poor, and the rain, her mind was like a wound exposed to dry in the air.

At this point the cab stopped, for it was in danger of being crushed like an egg-shell. The wide Embankment which had had room for cannon-balls and squadrons, had now shrunk to a cobbled lane steaming with smells of malt and oil and blocked by wag- gons. While her husband read the placards pasted on the brick announcing the hours at which certain ships would sail for Scotland, Mrs. Ambrose did her best to find information. From a world exclusively occupied in feeding waggons with sacks, half obliterated too in a fine yellow fog, they got neither help nor attention. It seemed a miracle when an old man approached, guessed their condition, and proposed to row them out to their ship in the little boat which he kept moored at the bottom of a flight of steps. With some hesitation they trusted themselves to his care, took their places, and were soon waving up and down upon the water, London having shrunk to two lines of buildings on either side of them, square buildings and oblong buildings placed in rows like a child’s avenue of bricks.

The river, which had a certain amount of troubled yellow light in it, ran with great force; bulky barges floated down swiftly escorted by tugs; police boats shot past everything; the wind went with the current. The open rowing-boat in which they sat bobbed and curtseyed across the line of traffic. In mid-stream the old man stayed his hands upon the oars, and as the water rushed past them, remarked that once he had taken many passengers across, where now he took scarcely any. He seemed to recall an age when his boat, moored among rushes, carried delicate feet across to lawns at Rotherhithe.

“They want bridges now,” he said, indicating the monstrous outline of the Tower Bridge. Mournfully Helen regarded him, who was putting water between her and her children. Mournfully she gazed at the ship they were approaching; anchored in the middle of the stream they could dimly read her name—Euphrosyne.

Very dimly in the falling dusk they could see the lines of the rigging, the masts and the dark flag which the breeze blew out squarely behind.

As the little boat sidled up to the steamer, and the old man shipped his oars, he remarked once more pointing above, that ships all the world over flew that flag the day they sailed. In the minds of both the passengers the blue flag appeared a sinister token, and this the moment for presentiments, but nevertheless they rose, gathered their things together, and climbed on deck.

Down in the saloon on her father’s ship, Miss Rachel Vinrace, aged twenty-four, stood waiting for her uncle and aunt nervously. To begin with, though nearly related, she scarcely remembered them; to go on with, they were elderly people, and finally, as her father’s daughter she must be in some sort prepared to entertain them. She looked forward to seeing them as civilised people generally look forward to the first sight of civilised people, as though they were of the nature of an approaching physical discomfort,—a tight shoe or a draughty window. She was already unnaturally braced to receive them. As she occupied herself in laying forks severely straight by the side of knives, she heard a man’s voice saying gloomily:

“On a dark night one would fall down these stairs head foremost,” to which a woman’s voice added, “And be killed.”

As she spoke the last words the woman stood in the doorway. Tall, large-eyed, draped in purple shawls, Mrs. Ambrose was romantic and beautiful; not perhaps sympathetic, for her eyes looked straight and considered what they saw. Her face was much warmer than a Greek face; on the other hand it was much bolder than the face of the usual pretty Englishwoman.

“Oh, Rachel, how d’you do,” she said, shaking hands.

“How are you, dear,” said Mr. Ambrose, inclining his forehead to be kissed. His niece instinctively liked his thin angular body, and the big head with its sweeping features, and the acute, innocent eyes.

Revue de presse

"Done with something startling like genius - in its humour and its sense of irony, the occasional poignancy of its emotions, its profound originality" (Observer)

"It is absolutely unafraid... Here at last is a book which attains unity as surely as Wuthering Heights, though by a different path" (E. M. Forster)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 957 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 253 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0084AYPHC
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°4.941 des titres gratuits dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 gratuits dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 3.7 étoiles sur 5  49 commentaires
45 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A True Voyage Out 3 mars 2005
Par Trilby - Publié sur Amazon.com
This novel is not necessarily the best overall story that I have read in terms of style and content. The plot follows a simplistic, sequential pattern and the supposed climax is not as surprising as it is portrayed to be. Luckily, this is not the reason to read this novel. The Voyage Out is in no way the greatest novel ever written, but the ideas that it represents and the thought that it provokes on topics ranging from imperialism to gender roles in society to love among intellectuals is more than worth the read.

We first meet Rachel aboard her father's ship and from the first conversation we are privey to, it is obvious that she is not an ordinary woman. She in no way realistically approaches her proper place in London Society and of course it is through Woolf's feminist viewpoint that we discover how much more of a human being Rachel can become by not following those patterns. In fact, we are introduced to many women throughout the novel, all ranging in their places from aristocratic wife to single author to inexperienced flirt to old widow and all that is in between. Woolf never truly tells which she prefers, but the reader is given an in depth look into the advantages of each lifestyle.

The men on the other hand are portrayed most basically as heartless, unpitying, logical beings, or in other words, the common man of that time, the common educated man of the time that is. Though each man has his own story, it is only Hewet, the one man who in hindsight acts as a woman, who is able to win the heart of Rachel and in fairness, fall madly in love with also. It is also shown in the end of the novel how there is a certain strength in men, a strength that can be both good and bad. The reader is surprised how some of the men handle disaster while they are dissapointed with how others could be so uncaring.

The character sketches set forth in this book are nothing short of spectacular in everything they represent. I consider myself well read and it is this book that I would say most accurately portrays the idea of falling in love. It is not love at first sight, nor is it a burning passion that cannot be quenched. Instead, it is two ordinary, if not so unonrdianary, people who realize that their lives just might not be the same without each other in it. There are no fireworks, there need be none and as the book is being read, a strange joy begins to creep up inside of one. Then again, all joy is not meant to last forever and I must admit that the lasting impressions is one of depression, not joy. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. Somehow, Woolf is able to show us through a seemingly random cast of 19th century characters that the world today has perhaps not changed as much as we would like to believe and it is that timelessness that makes this novel more than worth the small time it takes to read it
25 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Hideous unedited OCR garbage 22 janvier 2010
Par Antony W. Serio - Publié sur Amazon.com
This review is for the General Books LLC edition of this book, and is not a critique of Virginia Woolf herself or her writing style. My neighbor made the mistake of purchasing this book on Amazon, actually thinking that it would be readable. It was not. From the looks of things, the contents of this edition were taken from an OCR scan, and just dumped on the page willy-nilly by a high speed book printer. There was not even the slightest attempt to edit the contents of this edition. No spellcheck was completed, and I doubt if anybody even looked at the contents of this edition before it was sold. I was unable to read even a few paragraphs without being forced to parse out garbage characters, odd paragraph breaks, obvious errors, and missing punctuation. In a few cases, entire sentences are illegible.

In fact, there is a disclaimer opposite the Table Of Contents which claims:

"Limit of liability, disclaimer of warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose." It sounds as if the publisher knows that their edition is unedited garbage.

"No warranty may be created ore extended by sales representatives or written sales materials." Note that there is a typo in the disclaimer. Does the publisher even have employees that speak English?

"We have recreated this book from the original using Optical Character Recognition software to keep the cost of the book as low as possible. Therefore, could you please forgive any spelling mistakes, missing or extraneous characters that may have resulted from worn or smudged pages? When in doubt, please consult the original scanned book which may be available from our website." Think about it. If you had the chance to read this disclaimer before purchasing this book, would you actually pay money for it?

I've dealt with raw OCR scans before, and it does take quite a bit of editing to clean them up enough to be legible. A simple spell-check would have found most of these errors. Given the raw data and PDFs of the scans, I could probably do it myself in a day or so. The problem is that this publisher didn't even make an effort to do so. In fact, I doubt if they even have one editor on their staff. The fact that they have typos in their legal boilerplate is probably proof of that theory.

I think the publisher is doing a serious disservice to Virginia Woolf, Amazon's customers, and Amazon.com itself by attempting to market this book as anything but kindling. It is a waste of paper, ink, money, and time.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A powerful story of self-actualization. 13 septembre 2009
Par Christine Richardson - Publié sur Amazon.com
A powerful story of self-actualization. Rachel is a young woman who ventures on a long journey to South America where the fact that she is long away from home, and away from past influences, she is now able to make choices for herself, and adapt to change.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, and one of the worst reviews I have ever written. Don't use it to NOT buy the book, just read it say to yourself, so lame reviewer said it was great. If I could write well, I'd write a book, as I don't write well, I enjoy wonderful and brilliant books like The Voyage Out! Enjoy!
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Incredible First 13 décembre 2010
Par RCM - Publié sur Amazon.com
It is hard to believe that "The Voyage Out" was Virginia Woolf's first novel, begun in the early 1900s but not published until 1915, having been rewritten several times. It is a grand story, almost epic in scope, of a young woman's inner voyage of discovery. In "The Voyage Out" are all the trademarks of Woolf's writing that were to come - her poetic lyricism, her social satire, and her experimentation with point of view and charcter.

"The Voyage Out" follows the inexperienced Rachel Vinrace as she travels from England to South America on her father's ship with her aunt and uncle. Instead of traveling on with her father, Rachel chooses to reside with Helen, her aunt, in the fictional town of Santa Marina so that her aunt can teach her about life. Once there, their lives become entwined with the residents of the local hotel, a random assortment of scholars and wealthy vacationers. With these newfound friendships Rachel is finally able to explore feelings she has never experienced and try to discover who she is and who she wants to be.

Woolf's writing in "The Voyage Out" is much more mature and established than one would expect for a first novel, but it is not without fault. The story is long, almost five hundred pages, and at times almost too heavily charactered as if Woolf were trying to paint too many images at once. However, the central story, that of the blossoming relationship between Rachel and Terence Hewet, offers a classic modern depiction of two souls struggling to find their place in this world and to discover what it truly means to love. Woolf's portrait of Rachel is not a self-portrait, although the character does share some of the same life experiences. Woolf shines through her writing in the satirical elements and in the beautiful way that she can explore some of the hardest to capture feelings of love and loss. "The Voyage Out" is a truly remarkable achievement as a first novel and one that definitely reaffirms Woolf's reputation as one of the finest writers of the modern era, or perhaps of any era.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Voyage Out is Virginia Woolf's first published novel 9 septembre 2011
Par C. M Mills - Publié sur Amazon.com
One of the greatest of twentieth century English novelists is Virginia Woolf (1882-suicide victim in 1941). She was often mentally ill; lost four close family members to death within a decade and suffered periods of madness. She was also a brilliant author; the doyen of the Bloomsbury group of intellectuals and an innovator in fiction. Her later novels such as
"To the Lighthouse" and "Mrs Dalloway" use flashbacks;, interior monologues and symbolism to move the novel into new modes of narrative story.
All of these achievements were years in advance when Virginia produced "The Voyage Out." She labored on the book from 1905-15. The plot deals with Rachel Vinrace's journey from England to South America. She is a passenger aboard her father Willoughby Vinrace's ship. Along the way she meets Richard and Clarissa Dalloway a conservative political couple as well as
chess playing scholar Mr. Pepper; the amorous Evely M. and the English teacher Miss Allan. Ridley and Susan Ambrose and her love Terence Hewitt. Hewitt and his friend Hirst are witty companions. There are several eccentric and minor characters. I think Woolf spent too much time on them when she needed to focus more on the narrative thread being woven by Rachel's development.
Terence is a budding author who falls in love with Rachel (who much resembles the author Virginia Woolf). Tragedy strikes the young couple. At the end of the novel we have come to care for Rachel. The world is a mysterious and dangerous place but love makes life worthwhile.
The novel is written in a traditional style with much literary and political commentary made by the verbose characters. Some readers will find little action in the book which explores the characters inner thoughts and beliefs. Rachel is a callow woman of 24 who is a virgin who has been poorly educated at home by spinster aunts. Her voyage is a journey of inner discovery as she grows into a woman in love.
The book was interesting but needed editing-I found it overlong and talky. Woolf's characters all come from the British upper class. She was a snob! Despite its faults, "The Voyage Out" is still a worthy novel which I have come to appreciate through a second reading. Woolf was on her way to a great career in English literature.
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