Granite and Rainbow: The Hidden Life of Virginia Woolf

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Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 513 pages
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Virginia Woolf once mused that no biographer had ever been "subtle enough and bold enough to present that queer amalgamation of dream and reality, that perpetual marriage of granite and rainbow" that is an artist's life. Mitchell Leaska has now answered this daunting challenge. The editor of two of her novels, a volume of letters, and her early journals, as well as the author of a critical work that Leonard Woolf called "the most illuminating study of Virginia Woolf's novels that I have ever read". Leaska is uniquely placed to write the most uncompromising and deeply informed literary biography to date.

Leaska unearths much new and disturbing material that illuminates both Woolf's life and work. He recounts the hard realities of Woolf's early life -- the succession of tragic and untimely deaths, the illnesses, the stretches of madness -- as they emerged, infallibly transformed by Woolf's imagination in her iridescent novels, letters, and diaries. Leaska explores, for the first time, the troubled lives of Woolf's parents. Plunging below the lyrical surface of Woolf's narratives, he uncovers the dissonances generated by her parents' relationship and the deeper story of how she sought to create harmony out of such profound divisions.

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Granite and rainbow: the hidden life of Virginia Woolf

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Interest in Virginia Woolf seems to be limitless, as yet a fourth major biography in as many years now appears. Recent works have looked at Woolf's life from the standpoint of literary analysis (James ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Mitchell Leaska is the author of Virginia Woolf's Lighthouse, praised by Leonard Woolf as "the most illuminating study of Virginia Woolf's novels that I have read". He lives in New York City.

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