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Persephone Books

A Writer's Diary

Regular price £15.00
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Persephone Books

A Writer's Diary

Regular price £15.00
Unit price
per 

Bloomsbury Books

A Writer's Journal

Virginia Woolf’s A Writer's Diary, first published in 1953, consists of extracts from the diaries she kept from 1918-41, gathered together by her husband Leonard Woolf to show her in the act of writing, when ‘she reveals, more nakedly perhaps than any other writer has done, the exquisite pleasure and pains... of artistic creation.’

Because this is a writer’s diary – when Leonard Woolf went through the thirty manuscript volumes, he only selected passages that related to her intellectual life. The reason he did this – and it seems extraordinary looking back over sixty years – is that he wished to restore Virginia Woolf ’s reputation as a serious writer, since it was then at a very low ebb.

‘Here,’ writes Lyndall Gordon in her Persephone Preface, ‘assembled in the ready compass of A Writer's Diary, is all that brings Virginia Woolf to the brink of her works, from the age of 36 in 1918 when she is writing her second novel, Night and Day, until the age of 59 in 1941 when she is completing her last novel, Between the Acts. What happens “between the acts” can be as fascinating as a polished work or platform speech: it’s the unseen drama of making, with its struggles and breakthroughs.

‘Rereading A Writer's Diary thirty years on, I’m struck by its concentration on acts of greatness day by day, year by year. In the full diary the creative acts are inevitably dispersed because she’s recording much else. So it is that as a distillation of the creator’s relation to her creation, as well as to her critics and public, A Writer's Diary is a masterpiece in its own right.’

Endpaper

The endpaper is taken from the original 1953 jacket design for A Writer's Diary by Vanessa Bell

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