As if we don't enjoy reading enough, Virginia Woolf expands how the experience can be more fulfilling and enjoyable. She encourages us to fully immerse ourselves into great literature by using our own time and environment to make it personal, to obscure outside influences and prejudice to make the reading experience truly the reader's own.
The introduction and afterword is written by Sheila Heti. The afterword is explaining her (Heti) use of friends as beta readers during the writing process and adds very little to Woolf's essay. The foreword, however, is a vivid expression of Woolf's view of the book as a 'shadow shape' as the story is read, dependent on the time and place where it is read. We will all know what this means when we recall favourite books and how we feel about them, often not remembering every detail or even the main plot, but how we feel about it. There is, Heti says, according to Woolf, 'some alchemy between the shape the writer created and the shape of our life as we read it.'
Originally published by Hogarth press in 1935 and part of an anthology, this is a great little book for discerning readers and would make a great gift. A joy to read in its own right.
Published by Laurence King Publishing on 12 October 2020.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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