Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room

“But language is wine upon his lips.”

This review will definitely not do Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room justice. Norton Critical Editions typically include excepts, if not complete, literary reviews of the text. I have to make the distinction between the layman’s reviews that I write for Read House Review and the type of literary reviews suitable for academia that are published in the Norton Critical Editions. Jacob’s Room was the book that I studied for my comprehensive examinations to complete my Master’s Degree in English, and this edition came in really handy.

“But then, this is only a young woman’s language, one, two, who loves, or refrains from loving.”

It is the story of a young man named Jacob. The reader learns about his life from the perspective of those around him. It’s a modernist masterpiece. Virginia Woolf does the literary equivalent of the artistic beauty of the expressionists. She paints a picture with words. Stoke by stroke, she builds an image of Jacob’s life without his direct presence. We learn about the different women in his life, his male friends, the global circumstances that lead him to join the British troops of WWII. The narrative ends with a disjointed sense as his mother walks through his empty room. What happened to Jacob? How and why was his life important enough to read about?

“Shakespeare had more guts than all these damned frogs put together.”

Work Cited

Woolf, Virginia. Jacob’s Room. New York: Norton, 1 May 2007.

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