Synopses & Reviews
Night and Day, Virginia Woolf's second novel, is both a love story and a social comedy in the tradition of Jane Austen; yet it also questions that tradition, recognizing that the goals of society and the individual may not necessarily coincide. At its centre is Katharine Hilbery, the beautiful grand-daughter of a great Victorian poet. She must choose between becoming engaged to the oddly prosaic poet William Rodney and her attraction to Ralph Denham, with whom she feels a more profound and disturbing affinity. Katharine's hesitation is vividly contrasted with the approach of her friend Mary Datchet, dedicated to the Women's Rights movement. The ensuing complications are underlined and to some extent unravelled by Katharine's mother, Mrs Hilbery, whose struggles to weave together the known documents, events and memories of her father's life into a coherent biography reflect Woolf's own sense of the unique and elusive nature of experience.
This novel opens in Chelsea, at the house of the Hilberys, a family dominated by the memory of their Victorian ancestor, the poet Richard Alardyce. Katharine Hilbery at first acquiesces in favour of marriage to William Rodney, rejecting Ralph Denham for whom she feels a more profound affinity.
An immaculately-observed social comedy that explores the boundaries between personal freedom and the demands of love
Katharine Hilbery is beautiful and privileged, but uncertain of her future. She must choose between becoming engaged to the oddly prosaic poet William Rodney, and her dangerous attraction to the passionate Ralph Denham. As she struggles to decide, the lives of two other women women's rights activist Mary Datchet and Katharine's mother, Margaret, struggling to weave together the documents, events and memories of her own father's life into a biography impinge on hers with unexpected and intriguing consequences. Virginia Woolf's delicate second novel is both a love story and a social comedy, yet it also subtly undermines these traditions, questioning a woman's role and the very nature of experience. This edition of Night and Day includes a detailed introduction by Julia Briggs, which considers the key themes of the novel and its place in the tradition of social comedy, a map of central London of the period and notes.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-datetranslations by award-winning translators."