A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
Night and Day offers a different experience for readers familiar with other Woolf novels. The work itself is fairly long, and its romantic focus lends it the air of a Victorian novel. This is far from the whole story, however. Night and Day is less Victorian than it is modernist and the pessimistic atmosphere of the story makes it more of an elegy to Victorian literature than the real thing. There are more than a few glimpses of Woolf’s later style, especially with regard to the preference for thoughts over words. The reader is frequently guided by what the characters are thinking rather than doing, with the writer telling us more than the characters themselves know.
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Originally published in October 1919, Night in Day is a novel written by Virginia Woolf. Set in Edwardian London, Night and Day features the daily lives and romantic attachments of two acquaintances, Katharine Hilbery and Mary Datchet. The novel focuses on the relationships between love, marriage, happiness, and success.
Unlike later works, such as To The Lighthouse, Night and Day incorporates the use of dialogue and description in fairly equal amounts. The novel features four major characters, Katharine Hilbery, Mary Datchet, Ralph Denham, and William Rodney. Woolf explores issues such as women's suffrage, if love and marriage can coexist, and if marriage is necessary for happiness throughout.
Keep an eye out for numerous references to William Shakespeare’s As You Like It as well.
The novel is primarily set in London and features a number of characters belonging to the upper and middle classes of English society. Night and Day follows the story of 25-year-old Katherine Hilbery, a beautiful and privileged member of a historically renowned family, as she navigates the options available to young, single women in late nineteenth century England.
The novel also follows the story of a working middle class character, Ralph Denham, who is a lawyer in his thirties that Katherine meets near the beginning of the novel during a tea party her family is hosting. Ralph originally criticizes Katherine for her privileged position and accuses her of not understanding the value of labor. Despite his initial attacks, in the days following their first meeting, Ralph cannot get Katherine out of his mind. He admits that he noticed something different about her that he isn’t used to seeing in members of the social elite, and this mysterious quality of Katherine’s continues to draw Ralph towards her.
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