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Flush by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf is a character from literary history that most readers have heard of, but that few have actually braved reading. She is by far one of the most intelligent writers of her time, and does take some commitment beyond just enjoying the story, but Virginia Woolf's works are well worth the effort.

Flush: A Biography by Virginia Woolf is an excellent starting place for interested first-timers as well as a great addition to any Woolf reader's repertoire, because it is one of the rare pieces that she herself considered to be a parody. Naturally, as it was written in 1933, this piece has underlying critiques of politics, societal standards, people, places, and processes –specifically related to women – from a controversial time for women writers; yet, it possesses a light-hearted charm different from her other works, and her one other biography.

This particular title follows in the paws of Flush, a pure bred cocker spaniel that is adopted by Mrs. Browning, better known as the successful poet/ playwright and wife to Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. For those who are unfamiliar with her poetic history, Elizabeth Barrett Browning became a prolific influence on the literary world in the 1840s, inspiring such artists we continue to read today including Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickenson. Through Flush's eyes, we catch the major moments of Mrs. Browning's life , all of what we'd expect to see in a traditional biography, through the filter of this odd minor character. We also open ourselves up to the influence of this fairly philosophical dog, who contemplates the facets of life based on his own experiences as well as that of Mrs. Browning.

Whether you find intrigue in poetry, Woolf's works, biographies, or cocker spaniels, Flush: A Biography has so much to offer to its readers. Though Woolf thought of this novel as "a joke" while writing it, it is like so many of her other works so intellectual and entertaining.

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