As the Pargiters, a middle-class English family, move from the oppressive confines of the Victorian home of the 1880s to the `present day' of the 1930s, they are weighed down by the pressures of war, the social strictures of patriarchy, capitalism and Empire, and the rise of Fascism. Engaging with a painful struggle between utopian hopefulness and crippled with despair, the novel is a savage indictment of Virginia Woolf's society, but its bitter sadness is relieved
by the longing for some better way of life, where `freedom and justice' might really be possible.
This is Virginia Woolf's longest novel, and the one she found the most difficult to write. The most popular of all her writings during her lifetime, it can now be re-read as the most challengingly political, even revolutionary, of all her books.
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