THE DIARY OF VIRGINIA WOOLF: Vol. I 1915-1919 by Virginia Woolf
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THE DIARY OF VIRGINIA WOOLF: Vol. I 1915-1919

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Now--after her letters, her unpublished writings, sundry reminiscences and critical studies--we have Virginia Woolf's diaries--the first of five to cover the years 1915-1941. This volume, which opens three years after her marriage and during a blessed interval between mental collapses (the second marked here by a hiatus of more than a year), leads us with controlled intimacy and an easy literary style through trivia of her private life (""I began today to treat my Corn""), attitudes toward public events (""Patriotism is a base emotion""), and comments on incidents, people, and, of course, writing--works read, reviewed, printed at the Woolfs' Hogarth Press, and written by her (although only her first novel appeared during these years). Some of these literary comments build into short essays of fine sensitivity--appraisals of Dostoevsky and Byron and praise for Sophocles' Electra as a woman so much more ""harsh and splendid"" than Victorian women softened by increased freedom. The range of subjects is greater than in her letters, since all kinds of observations, ideas, and feelings are recorded, not just those intended for her correspondent's eyes. In fact, VW sets forth her guidelines in a significant page on the diary as art: ""Something loose knit, & yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace any thing, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind."" Fortunately for readers who want every unfamiliar name and allusion identified, the editorial notes are abundant and detailed.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1977
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich