To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface

  • 590 ₽
  • 530 ₽
Moscow, Gorky Park
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Moscow, Narkomfin Building
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St. Petersburg, New Holland Island
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  • Year: 2019
  • Language: Russian
  • Publisher: Ad Marginem
  • ISBN: 9785911034900
  • Page: 292
  • Cover: paperback
  • About the Book

A dedication to Virginia Woolf, one of the author Olivia Laing’s idols.


Walking along the river Ouse in Sussex where Virginia Woolf drowned herself in 1941, British writer and literary critic Olivia Laing explores the relationship between history and landscape and studies the role of rivers in human life. Ultimately, all roads lead the author to the Ouse, as her route ends there, where her story begins.


On the shores of the Ouse, Laing reflects on very different subjects—from the violent Barons’ War of the thirteenth century to the Great Dinosaur Rush of the nineteenth. She remembers Shakespeare, Homer, Iris Murdoch, and Kenneth Grahame, the author of the “riverside” classic The Wind in the Willows, analyzing the river metaphor in literature and mythology in the process. Laing’s central subject of study however remains Virginia Woolf, her permanent fellow traveler during this journey. This is why the book can be also read as a biography of the famous English writer, or a monument commemorating the fluidity of Woolf’s life and literary practice: “…for though she eventually foundered for a time it seemed she possessed, like some freedivers, a gift for descending beneath the surface of the world”.

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