Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room - Jacob Flanders, Many Things to Many Readers

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Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room - Jacob Flanders, Many Things to Many Readers

Listless is the air in an empty room, just swelling the curtain; the flowers in the jar shift.

One fibre in the wicker arm- chair creaks, though no one sits there. - Jacob's Room

The year 1922 marks the beginning of High Modernism with the publications of T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room. Woolf's novel, only her third, is not generally afforded the iconic worship and critical praise so often attached to those works of her most famous male contemporaries. Jacob's Room is seldom suggested as one of Woolf's best fiction; the novel has not generated the same encomia as her recognized masterpieces Mrs.
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These novels largely followed the precedent of Victorian and Edwardian realistic characterization and narrative consciousness. The story of Rachel Vinrace is conveyed through the traditional omniscient, omnipresent narrative consciousness which occasionally projects its own thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions onto the "reality" of Rachel's world. In Jacob's Room, Woolf extends the omniscience of the narrator exponentially. Consciousness or narrative voice is no longer centered in a singular fictional "being." Instead, the narrative consciousness is dispersed across the whole of the work's universe; the collective voice of the novel includes the traditional impersonal presence as well as Jacob's view, Betty Flander's view, the view of the London crowds, and many others.

When the novel was published on 27 October 1922 by the Hogarth Press and printed by R. & R. Clark of Edinburgh, Woolf was terribly anxious about its critical reception because of her radical experimentation in the work (Letters 574) and its departure from the fictional conventions of works by writers like Bennet and Wells, as well as her own previous novels. She was strongly impressed by the Russian writers of the late nineteenth century, who had only recently been translated into English. As a writer always seeking new

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