Granite & Rainbow

1st American edition of this essay collection; cover by her sister Vanessa Bell, 1958

(Random quotes from Virginia Woolf’s last-published, posthumous collection of criticism. Each one rich, expansive and yet so-o concise. Each one a potential subject for a meditation, a blog entry, an article, an essay, a talk, a workshop. Quintessential Woolfisms.)

(from “The Narrow Bridge of Art”)

“There is a zest in their presence, an interest in their doings. They seem alive all over….when they come into action, they cut real ice.”

“Shakespeare’s plays are not the work of a baffled and frustrated mind; they are the perfectly elastic envelope of his thought.”

“And the very freedom and curiosity are perhaps the cause of what appears to be his most marked characteristic–the strange way in which things which have no apparent connection are associated in his mind.”

“Poetry has always been overwhelmingly on the side of beauty.”

“We long for ideas, for dreams, for imaginations, for poetry.”

“Every moment is the centre and meeting-place of an extraordinary number of perceptions which have not yet been expressed. Life is always and inevitably much richer than we who try to express it.”

(from “Hours in a Library”)

“It would not be hard to prove by an assembly of facts that the great season for reading is the season between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four.”

(from “Phases of Fiction”)

“Truth-telling implies disagreeableness. It is part of truth–the sting and edge of it.”

“The true romantic can swing us from earth to sky.”

“The novel is the only form of art which seeks to make us believe that it is giving a full and truthful record of the life of a real person.”

“Prose perhaps is the instrument best fitted to the complexity and difficulty of modern life.”

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