Granite and Rainbow

Granite and Rainbow

by Virginia Woolf

A posthumous collection of twenty-five essays on the art of fiction and the art of biography. "These are aristocrats among essays...witty, beautifully mannered and mellow" (Rumer Godden, New York Herald Tribune). Editorial Note by Leonard Woolf.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Writing
  • Rating: 3.94
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: October 15th 1975 by Mariner Books
  • Isbn10: 0156364751
  • Isbn13: 9780156364751

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Leonard Woolf collected together many essays and reportage in three volumes published in the years after Woolfs death. The title Granite and Rainbow comes from an essay entitled The New Biography. She reviews his collection of short stories Men Without Women and also analyses The Sun Also Rises. The comment she makes about the short stories is classic Woolf; There are in Men Without Women many stories which, if life were longer, one would wish to read again (she doesnt say how much longer).

He begins to doubt and concceal his own sensitive, hesitating apprehensions when they conflict with the critics' decrees. She examines Hemingway's work and writing style like a student examines her lab experiment. And in "Phases of Fiction," a longer piece that could stand alone, she eruditely traverses numerous authors, books, and periods, producing a lecture on the appetite, history, and emotion of fiction, all while dissecting the authors of these works.

That said, there seems to be a very big difference between the man of learning and the man of reading. Virginia agrees New books may be more stimulating and in some ways more suggestive than the old, but they do not give us that absolute certainty of delight which breathes through us when we come back again to Comus, or Lycidas, Urn Burial, or Antony and Cleopatra. THE NARROW BRIDGE OF ART It seems unfair that Virginia would bash the prose writers and heap praise for the Poets. Maybe I am the one that did not understand but is seems like she was on a mission to point guys back to the reading of poems. While prose and poetry can never and should never compete, I feel like Virginia did a solid differentiation between writing normal prose and deep prose. It is also very clear that the passion was De Quiceys long before he started eating opium There is a very thin line as nothing is more reprehensible than a prose writer to write like a poet. Prose readers do not fully appreciate the depth of poetry, and when encompassed in prose they seem lost like Dorothy when reading. De Quincey seems to have negated the notion those who would wish to see a great many more things said in prose than are now thought proper, we live under the rule of the novelists. They ignore its thoughts, its rhapsodies, its dreams, with the result that the people of fiction bursting with energy on one side are atrophied on the other; while prose itself, so long in service to this drastic master, has suffered the same deformity, and will be fit, after another hundred years of such discipline, to write nothing but the immortal works of Bradshaw and Baedeker. A solitary life for the novelist allows them to view life from a different angle and that makes for good writing. Apart from the trappings of nobleness ingrained in him, No modern writer, for example, has so completely ignored the colloquial turns of speech and cast his dialogue in sentences that could without impropriety have been spoken by Queen Elizabeth in person His English power of imagination, with its immense audacity and fertility, his superb mastery of the great emotions of courage and love, his power of summoning nature into sympathy with man and of merging him in her vastness, his glory in all fine living and thinkingthese are the qualities that give his conceptions their size and universality. The approach to deducing fiction although different from many quarters should all point us to the beautiful scene. Virginia brings a very poignant point here by contrasting what used to happen back the in the middle ages: The books that formed part of the ordinary library in the year 1764 were, presumably, Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes, Gray's Poems, Richardson's Clarissa, Addison's Cato, Pope's Essay on Man. No one could wish for a more distinguished company. .literary critics are too little aware, a love of literature is often roused and for the first years nourished not by the good books, but by the bad. SUPERNATURAL IN FICTION Ladies and gentlemen, please read Henry James and also try Isaac Asimov while at it. The world we live in has so many critic who are so shallow the writers or authors wonder what they are speaking about when critiquing their works. Nowadays, people rely of reviews by critics before reading a book. A shame that even fewer people now read when compared to previous centuries where we had not many books. The character-making power is so prodigious, indeed, that it has little need to make use of observation, and a great part of the delight of Dickens lies in the sense we have of wantoning with human beings twice or ten times their natural size of smallness who retain only enough human likeness to make us refer their feelings very broadly, not to our own, but to those of odd figures seen casually through the half-opened doors of public houses, lounging on quays, slinking mysteriously down little alleys which lie about Holborn and the Law Courts. The Psychologists But it is the measure of Henry James's greatness that he has given us so definite a world, so distinct and peculiar a beauty that we cannot rest satisfied but want to experiment further with these extraordinary perceptions, to understand more and more, but to be free from the perpetual tutelage of the author's presence, his arrangements, his anxieties. It re-emphasized the kind of books that Virginia Woolf used to read and I can tell you one thing for sure.the lady was a voracious reader.

I'm in the midst of voraciously reading a wide variety of books, and Woolf counsels us to keep seeking out the best, because reading can be a spiritual experience: But all our faculties are summoned to the task, as in the great moments of our own experience; and some consecration descends upon us from their hands which we return to life, feeling it more keenly and understanding it more deeply than before. I want so to live that I work with my hands and my feeling and my brain. And out of this, the expression of this, I want to be writing.' If you've read and admired even one Woolf novel, I recommend one essay, a few, or all of them here.