chapter  4
8 Pages

Jacob’s Room

With Jacob’s Room (1922), Woolf departed from the traditional realism of Night and Day in an effort to evolve an experimental novelistic style that would be uniquely hers.1 Unlike her first two novels, Jacob’s Room shows little concern with plot, consisting instead of chapters subdivided into episodes providing impressionistically rendered glimpses of various periods in the short life of Jacob Flanders, a young man who dies in the First World War.2 Also included are scenes from life in such places as Scarborough, the seaside resort where Jacob grows up; Cambridge, where he attends the university; the Cornwall coast, where he vacations as a child and a college student; London, where he works in an office following graduation; and Greece and Italy, which he visits alone shortly before the war. As these glimpses provide a rudimentary history of Jacob in different milieus from early childhood to young manhood, the novel does bear a resemblance to the Bildungsroman genre employed earlier by Woolf in The Voyage Out, but differs most dramatically from it in its refusal to permit the reader access to Jacob’s mind and to trace his personal growth and intellectual development.