THE PARGITERS by Virginia Woolf


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What ended up as Woolf's 1937 novel, The Years, began as an experimental ""Novel-Essay,"" The Pargiters, with five ""extracts"" from an imaginary novel alternating with six Essays that discuss the issues--primarily feminist--exemplified in the fiction, as well as the special challenges facing the woman novelist. Woolf abandoned the experiment, daunted by the problematic ""marriage of granite and rainbow,"" and the extracts were absorbed into the ""1880"" section of The Years. Here the original format is reproduced, along with a speech to a group of professional women that foreshadowed The Pargiters; the fictional sequences are faithfully transcribed to show the many corrections and deletions appearing in the original manuscript. Had Woolf seen the project through, her emergence as a feminist torchbearer might have come somewhat sooner and more sharply, since the Essays focus on the educational, professional, political, and, especially, sexual life of women (reflecting her own exposure to molestation as a child), and those preoccupations are likely to attract more attention than the usual scholarly interest in previous versions of a major literary work.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1977
Publisher: The New York Public Library-dist. by Readex Books (101 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10003)