Virginia Woolf Questions and Answers

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What are the main points in Virginia Woolf's book The Common Reader and her final essay in the book "How One Should Read a Book"? 

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Virginia Woolf's common readers are ordinary readers, people who are not critics and scholars, people who have "common sense" and are untainted by "literary prejudices." They read what they like and read for enjoyment. Woolf advises such readers to lean into that sensibility. Both in the opening and in her final essay, "How Should One Read a Book," she says to read what you like, and, most importantly, to form your own opinions. Don't rely on the critics to tell you what is great. Trust yourself. The critics are often wrong. As she notes in the final essay, critics have to review books at such a fast pace that they can make mistakes.

Woolf advises reading not just "great literature," but what attracts you. You can find gems in the rubbish heap of literature. But one tires of second rate literature, she writes. After awhile, one gravitates to the great writers, those who tell the full truth about life. Many of her Common Reader essays aim to make great writers, such as Defoe and Austen,...

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