Virginia Woolf was born in 1882, the youngest daughter of the Victorian writer Leslie Stephen. After her father's death, Virginia moved with her sister Vanessa (later Vanessa Bell) and two of her brothers, to 46 Gordon Square, which was to be the first meeting place of the Bloomsbury Group. Virginia married Leonard Woolf in 1912, and together they established the Hogarth Press. Virginia also published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1912, and she subsequently wrote eight more, several of which are considered classics, as well as two books of seminal feminist thought. Woolf suffered from mental illness throughout her life and committed suicide in 1941.
It's wondrous to listen to a fine reading of a long-loved novel. Leishman makes masterly use of volume, timbre and resonance to distinguish between characters and draw us into the emotional swings and vibrations of the internal musings of each. She creates not a new but a more nuanced reading, following the interwoven streams of consciousness in a British English that lends authenticity to each voice. Leishman swims smoothly through Woolf's sentences that ebb and flow with numerous parenthetical thoughts and fresh images. These passages are interspersed with quick, sharp, simple sentences that gain strength in contrast. Leishman also draws our attention to Woolf's poetic prose: her rhythms and images, her use of hard consonants in monosyllabic words in counterpoint to long, soft, dreamy words and phrases. To The Lighthouse plays back and forth between telescopic and microscopic views of nature and human nature. Mrs. Ramsey is both trapped in and pleased in her roles as wife, mother and hostess. The introspective Mr. Ramsey is consumed with his legacy of long-since-published abstract philosophy. This is a book that cannot be read-or heard-too often. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.