Flush was an English cocker spaniel who belonged to the nineteenth-century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Virginia Woolf learned of him from the love letters Elizabeth wrote to her future husband, fellow poet Robert Browning, and found ‘the figure of their dog made me laugh so, I couldn't resist making him a Life.’ The resulting ‘biography’ combines sensuous imaginative description with sharp social comment, and brings Woolf’s unsentimental humour and insight to the fore. We see Flush as loyal confidant to Elizabeth on her sickbed at Wimpole Street, and from his jealous perspective we witness her courtship by Browning, their elopement and new life in Italy. The perfect accessible introduction to Woolf’s genius, a unique blend of fact and fiction, Flush is perhaps best read in the company of a canine companion.
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