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Virginia Woolf's biography of Elizabeth Barrett Brownings' spaniel was what she called "a little escapade", begun to "ease my brain" in the wake of "The Waves" (1931). The intensities of that most demanding fiction were soon supplanted by canine psychology and the art of anthropomorphism. For all its fun and frivolity, "Flush" is none the less a work seriously inclined to mock and question the genre of biography, as did Woolf's earlier, more ambitious, and more widely read jeu d'esprit, "Orlando" (1928), and was written in part as a joke at the expense of the biographer, Lytton Strachey.Like "Orlando", it too bespeaks its author's feminism. In this new edition, which uses as copy-text the second issue of the first English edition and reproduces the original illustrations, Elizabeth Steele maps the events that inspired the book. She provides a wealth of information about its writing and reception - concerning fact and fiction, and Woolf's views on the art of biography - and details its publication history.
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