The notion of immense satisfaction, rapture, electric shocks gained from writing is repeated over and over again and most often in relation to the periods when she was engaged on fiction: Great content—almost always enjoying what I am at, but with constant change of mood. Sometimes a little stale; but I have a power of recovery. She needed every power of recovery that she could muster when it came to the reception of her novels. After Night and Day came out to unenthusiastic reviews in , she wrote: Later, while still working on Jacob's Room , she noted: By , even though she had some huge successes behind her, and had had books written about her, she was still easily cast down by criticism and brooded about her writing reputation having been damaged by Windham Lewis and Gertrude Stein, and about how she was seen by some critics to be out of date..
I think that's my public reputation at the moment. It is based largely on C. About reading contemporary reviewers such as Cyril Connolly, she writes: When I read reviews I crush the column together to get at one or two sentences; is it a good book or a bad? And then I discount those two sentences according to what I know of the book and of the reviewer.
But when I write a review I write every sentence as if it were going to be tried by three Chief Justices. Reviews seem to me more and more frivolous…The truth is that writing is the profound pleasure and being read the superficial. Whatever about being read, reading itself was a tremendous pleasure.
She mentions reading certain authors again and again; Dante and Proust were two such. She not only reread her favourites over and over, she liked to read them alongside other books, and the more books she had going at once, the better she liked it. In one of her letters, she said: I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time. Due to her association with The Times Literary Supplement as an occasional reviewer, she claims to have learned eventually to read with a pen and notebook, seriously.
There are frivolous moments as well as serious ones in her diary life; a line from an old song is tossed out several times like a repeated theme in a piece of music; it reveals a different Virginia from the one we usually see: And what do I care for a goose-feather bed. The line is from the well-known ballad about the Lady who leaves her Lord and her comfortable house and goes off to share a life on the road with the RaggleTaggle Gypsy-O. Interpret that how we like, it is clear that Virginia liked her comforts and was pleased to have made enough money from her writing to eventually afford certain luxuries.
I enjoy epicurean ways of society; sipping and then shutting my eyes to taste. I enjoy almost everything. Coexistent with the epicurean was a restless spirit constantly questioning itself, sometimes finding only blackness. Why is there not a discovery in life?
My depression is a harassed feeling. And shall I die before I find it? Nothing makes a whole except when I am writing. Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A Writer's Diary - - Complete edition. May 5, —. May 6, —. May 7, —. May 8, —. May 10, —. May 11, —. May 13, —. May 14, —. May 16, —. May 18, —. May 11, So she becomes of two minds, just like so many of us.
But even while she's doing all of that, she's churning out an amazing body of work. No sooner one project put to bed than another is up and running. May 30, I have been known to sip and shut. Beautiful review,well done, Fionnuala No need for apologies there at the beginning. Sorry to bang on about Julian Barnes, but d'you know what he has his narrator say in Flaubert's Parrot? He talks about the books he brought himself up on: Wells, Huxley and Shaw. And "I'm saving Virginia Woolf for when I'm dead.
But I think it is Barnes being cruel to his narrator. But I think it is Barnes being cruel to his narrator.. The question is why her work invited such negative reaction? I think part of it was due to her review work where she made some enemies, part of it, no doubt, to the taste of the times. But there's another aspect which I didn't deal with in this review because I'd already gone into it in my review of The Years and it was so that I could review that book properly that I picked up this Writer's Diary in the first place: I think she was more inclined towards self-doubt than many of her contemporaries.
A Writer's Diary () - Virginia Woolf - Google Books
Which came first, the cruel comments or the self-doubt? It's interesting to speculate.. May 31, Your excellent review Fio. You did it by knowing when to use restraint, letting the book do the talking and when to step forward yourself. As you describe it, it may be one of the most enjoyable books I will get to read. So, standing here before you I take the pledge to no longer, for no good reason, put off reading it.
The only question remaining is, once I start will I be able to stop? As you describe it, it may be one of the most enjoyable books I will get to read I'm glad this review which quoted VW such a lot but be assured that there are tons of great lines I didn't use didn't put you off reading the diaries, Stephen. And I hope you buy a good edition. I downloaded an e-book because I was in a hurry - I was half way through writing a review of her second last book, The Years , and having such difficulty, that I thought I'd better see what she had to say about that book herself.
I'm unsure if my ebook is quite the way it should be - there's something odd at the end: I do understand though why Leonard Woolf might not have wanted to make her final diary entries public, and so reveal her actual state of mind in the weeks before her death on the 28th of March, By the way, I'm going to buy a paper and ink version the next time I'm in a good bookshop! If I am left with the impression that Woolf just got naked in front of my astonished eyes after reading this review, I can't even begin to imagine the intensity of having her inside your head as you followed her inner musings about writing, life and expectations.
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The Lady in the Looking Glass. Mrs Dalloway Collins Classics. The Common Reader - Second Series. The Complete Common Reader: The Captain's Death Bed, and other Essays. The Moment, and Other Essays. Adeline Virginia Woolf 25 January — 28 March was an English writer, and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals.
Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway , To the Lighthouse and Orlando , and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own , with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. Lincoln in the Bardo.
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