Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, first editor of The Dictionary of National Biography. After his death in 1904 Virginia and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to Bloomsbury and became the centre of The Bloomsbury Group. This informal collective of artists andwriters which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted apowerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a writer and social reformer. Three years later, her first novel The Voyage Out was published, followed by Night and Day (1919) and Jacob’s Room (1922). These first novels show the development of Virginia Woolf’s distinctive and innovative narrative style. It was during this time that she and Leonard Woolf founded The Hogarth Press with the publication of the co-authored Two Stories in 1917, hand-printed inthe dining room of their house in Surrey. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One’s Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay.
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Jacob’s Room is an experimental novel about a young man who yearns for something greater than his everyday life holds. With introductions by Lawrence Norfolk and Elisabeth Bronfen Jacob’s Room is Virginia Woolf’s first truly experimental novel. It is a portrait of a young man, tracing his life from childhood, to Cambridge University, and to his early adult life in artistic London. Jacob always yearns for something greater, and embarks on avoyage to the Mediterranean before the war begins and his fate isforever altered. Impressionistic in style, the narrative is as inspired now as it was when it first appeared.