Known as one of the foremost modernist novelists of the
twentieth century, Virginia Woolf also wrote several shorter works. In “A
Society,” one of her earlier short stories, a young woman receives a
substantial inheritance from her father, on the condition that she reads all of
the books in London Library. Distressed by the unsatisfactory quality of the
literature itself, she shares her woes with a group of female friends. The
women decide that they all must seek out knowledge for themselves, visiting
some of England’s most iconic landmarks. A commentary on war, art, and the
societal roles of men and women, “A Society” offers a brief but penetrating
glimpse into Woolf’s literary genius.
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