Masterplots II: Nonfiction Series The Diary of Virginia Woolf Analysis
In the preface to the 1928 Modern Library edition of Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf observed:It is true that the author can if he wishes tell us something about himself and his life which is not in the novel; and to this effort we should do all that we can to encourage him. For nothing is more fascinating than to be shown the truth which lies behind those immense facades of fiction—if life is indeed true, and if fiction is indeed fictitious.
Though much has been written about Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury circle of which she was the center, her diary remains an important as well as an entertaining source for anyone seeking the truth about her, her world, and her work.
The portrait that Woolf paints of herself is not always flattering. The fourth entry (January 4, 1915) begins, “I do not like the Jewish voice; I do not like the Jewish laugh.” Two decades later, she comments that her Jewish husband and his brothers are not gentlemen. On January 9, 1915, she writes of walking along a towpath and passing a group of the mentally feeble. She records her reaction: “It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed.” A charitable interpretation might ascribe the comment to her growing depression, which culminated in a nervous breakdown several weeks later. More difficult to excuse is her callousness when she hears of the famine in 1919 that killed hundreds of Armenians each week: “I laughed to myself over the...
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