A revelatory narrative of the intersecting lives and works of revered authors Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, and D. H. Lawrence during 1922, the birth year of modernism.
The World Broke in Two tells the fascinating story of the intellectual and personal journeys four legendary writers - Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, and D. H. Lawrence - make over the course of one pivotal year. As 1922 begins, all four are literally at a loss for words, confronting an uncertain creative future despite success in the past. The literary ground is shifting, as Ulysses is published in February and Proust's In Search of Lost Time begins to be published in England in the autumn. Yet, dismal as their prospects seemed in January, by the end of the year Woolf has started Mrs. Dalloway, Forster has, for the first time in nearly a decade, returned to work on the novel that will become A Passage to India, Lawrence has written Kangaroo, his unjustly neglected and most autobiographical novel, and Eliot has finished - and published to acclaim - "The Waste Land".
As Willa Cather put it, "The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts", and what these writers were struggling with that year was in fact the invention of modernism. Based on original research, Bill Goldstein's The World Broke in Two captures both the literary breakthroughs and the intense personal dramas of these beloved writers as they strive for greatness.
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The best non-fiction Audible book I've heard
Bill Goldstein has certainly studied well how novelists write, because he brings a novelist's sensibility to this book. The characters he describes are vibrant, there is a great arc to the narrative as it weaves these four lives together, and he ends each chapter as a cliffhanger, making you want to read on and on to find out what happens. I had to keep checking Wikipedia to be sure that "The Waste Land" was indeed published in "The Dial" because it seemed so uncertain throughout the book that it would be.
If found Virginia Woolf the most sympathetic and complicated character. She seems to have spoken most freely in her diary and therefore it was easiest to find out about her ambitions, and her insecurities. She came across as the most human. I never realized how all four of the characters interacted with each other so regularly. It was fascinating to learn that about them.
He was clear and concise and easy to follow.
This is the best non-fiction book I have listened to on Audible so far. Mr Goldstein's account is incredibly detailed and erudite, but laid out in such a straightforward way that even a lay person without much knowledge of the key players can follow along and learn. The depth and breadth of research that went into this book is simply astounding. I don't know how he managed to synthesize all of that information into a coherent narrative. He found so many sources and little scraps of information that he then masterfully wove into a coherent and even exciting narrative. As I mentioned above, each chapter ended with a cliffhanger -- something his subjects would have been proud of. In some ways, he accomplished what Joyce and Woolf had set out to do - he was able to tell a story from completely inside one person's head -- his research was so meticulous and complete that it allowed us to almost know and feel exactly what these great authors thought and felt. That is a remarkable achievement. This is a great selection for anyone who has an interest in history or literature. Bravo, Mr. Goldstein