Between the Acts – Virginia Woolf

Woolf’s lyric prose and gorgeous vision combine to consider the sense of exhaustion that punctuated the Modernist period leading up to WW II. Edward Mendelson describes the book: “Everything comes to an end in Between the Acts, and then, as the book itself comes to an end, something unknowable begins.” The book includes a pageant composed of imaginary episodes from 1000 years of English history, and a close examination of the intricacies of village life in England in the days leading up to WW II. As always, it is Woolf’s penetrating consideration of intimate relationships and the places where language fails—but something else transcends—that lift this work from “the doom of sudden death hanging over us” as one of her characters describes.