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Waves

The Waves, first published in 1931 is the most experimental novel of Virginia Woolf. Its form consists of six monologues for each of the six characters in the novel: Bernard, Louis, Neville, Jinny, Susan and Rhoda. These monologues are broken up by nine sections of short prose poetry detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day.

The six characters alternately deliver their "dramatic soliloquies," by which Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self, and the body. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose a gestalt about a silent central consciousness (represented by Percival, who is considered by each character but does not speak himself). Bernard is a story-teller, always seeking some elusive and apt phrase; Louis is an outsider, who seeks acceptance and success (some critics see aspects of T.S. Eliot, whom Woolf knew well, in Louis); Neville (who may be partially based on another of Woolf's friends, Lytton Strachey) desires love, seeking out a series of men, each of whom become the present object of his transcendent love; Jinny is a socialite, whose weltanschauung corresponds to her physical, corporeal beauty; Susan flees...

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