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Flush

Ratings:
204 pages2 hours

Summary

The story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel—by Virginia Woolf, who has “made him a real and vivid personality . . . in her most delightful style” (Kirkus Reviews).
 
Wanting to “ease [her] brain” after writing The Waves, Virginia Woolf turned to the correspondence between poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning—and found in their love letters an unexpected inspiration in their shared joy and affection for Flush, their cocker spaniel. As she put it, “the figure of their dog made me laugh so I couldn’t resist making him a Life.”
 
Here Flush tells his story as well as the love story of Robert Browning and his wife, complete with horrid maids, bullying fellow dogs, mysterious illnesses, and clandestine romance. Along the way, plenty of other topics are explored, including the barriers between man and animal, the miseries of London, and the oppression of women by “father and tyrants.”
 
Imbued with Woolf’s philosophical views about the repressive Victorian mindset, Flush is a unique and imaginative story of a dog, of what it means to love—spiritually, emotionally, and unconditionally—and of what it means to human. A unique literary treat, it is “a brilliant biographical tour de force” (The New York Times) and “a canine classic” (The Guardian).
 

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