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A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf (Harvest Book) [Paperback]

Virginia Woolf , Leonard Woolf
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 2003 Harvest Book
An invaluable guide to the art and mind of Virginia Woolf, "A Writer's Diary" was drawn by her husband from the personal record she kept over a period of twenty-seven years. Included are entries that refer to her own writing and those that are clearly writing exercises, accounts of people and scenes relevant to the raw material of her work, and finally, comments on books she was reading. The first entry is dated 1918 and the last, three weeks before her death in 1941. Between these points of time unfolds the private world - the anguish, the triumph, the creative vision - of one of the great writers of our century.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf (Harvest Book) + Selected Essays (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156027917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156027915
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 426,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Virginia Woolf is now recognized as a major twentieth-century author, a great novelist and essayist and a key figure in literary history as a feminist and a modernist. Born in 1882, she was the daughter of the editor and critic Leslie Stephen, and suffered a traumatic adolescence after the deaths of her mother, in 1895, and her step-sister Stella, in 1897, leaving her subject to breakdowns for the rest of her life. Her father died in 1904 and two years later her favourite brother Thoby died suddenly of typhoid.

With her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, she was drawn into the company of writers and artists such as Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, later known as the Bloomsbury Group. Among them she met Leonard Woolf, whom she married in 1912, and together they founded the Hogarth Press in 1917, which was to publish the work of T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and Katherine Mansfield as well as the earliest translations of Freud. Woolf lived an energetic life among friends and family, reviewing and writing, and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.

Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and she then worked through the transitional Night and Day (1919) to the highly experimental and impressionistic Jacob's Room (1922). From then on her fiction became a series of brilliant and extraordinarily varied experiments, each one searching for a fresh way of presenting the relationship between individual lives and the forces of society and history. She was particularly concerned with women's experience, not only in her novels but also in her essays and her two books of feminist polemic, A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938).

Her major novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925), the historical fantasy Orlando (1928), written for Vita Sackville-West, the extraordinarily poetic vision of The Waves (1931), the family saga of The Years (1937), and Between the Acts (1941). All these are published by Penguin, as are her Diaries, Volumes I-V, and selections from her essays and short stories.


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While waiting to buy a book in which to record my impressions first of Christina Rossetti, then of Byron, I had better write them here. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful 29 July 2012
By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
First published in 1953 'A Writer's Diary' is a collection of extracts from Virginia Woolf's complete diaries, selected by her husband, Leonard. It seems very strange nowadays, but when 'A Writer's Diary' was first published, Virginia Woolf's reputation as a writer was at a low ebb and Leonard, with the wish to restore his wife's standing as a serious writer of some calibre, took upon himself the task of distilling the full diaries - where Virginia recorded the details of her day-to-day life and of the people around her, along with her thoughts on the books she was writing and those she intended to write - by selecting those entries which he believed would display her intellectual and literary talents to best effect. And in that, Leonard Woolf has certainly achieved his aim.

'A Writer's Diary' opens with extracts from 1918 and closes with entries made just before Woolf's death in 1941 and in these entries we read of Virginia's discussions on Christina Rossetti, Byron, Conrad, Thomas Hardy, E.M Forster, Arnold Bennett and James Joyce, to name just a few. And of course, we also meet those people who were close to her including: Virginia's sister, the painter, Vanessa Bell; Lytton Strachey; Dora Carrington; Maynard Keynes; Roger Fry; Vita Sackville West, and I could go on; in fact the whole of Bloomsbury is within the covers of this book. We read of Virginia's disappointment when she gets a bad review and of her flashes of jealousy at the amount of attention Lytton Strachey attracts with his writing; but what is most important is that this book shows the writer in the act of writing, in the act of creating her writing and also in her despair at her lack of creativity at times.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hope and fuel for the writer's fire! 14 Mar 2011
By pixie
Format:Paperback
A lovingly edited collection of diary entries which capture Wolf's emotional desire to write 'something good'. which shines 'as bright as diamonds'. The book focuses on the process of writing, it is a reminder to writers that they are not alone when they feel that their work is in vain. Some critics might state that the highs and lows of Wolf stream of conciousness is tiring to read but this is her personal account, which I feel provides an interesting insight into her life. Her entries paint such vivid pictures, I feel so sad that she did not get to see how much her work is truely valued. Frustrating, vivid but some what reassuring read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Writers 9 July 2011
Format:Paperback
I studied Virginia Woolf many years ago in school, and recently purchased this book. Reading the diaries makes me want to go back and reread her work. They offer a lot of insight into her books, and for writers they provide a great perspective on how to receive criticism, how to tap into the flow of a book, and some great day-to-day advice on the life of a writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful 29 July 2012
By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
First published in 1953 'A Writer's Diary' is a collection of extracts from Virginia Woolf's complete diaries, selected by her husband, Leonard. It seems very strange nowadays, but when 'A Writer's Diary' was first published, Virginia Woolf's reputation as a writer was at a low ebb and Leonard, with the wish to restore his wife's standing as a serious writer of some calibre, took upon himself the task of distilling the full diaries - where Virginia recorded the details of her day-to-day life and of the people around her, along with her thoughts on the books she was writing and those she intended to write - by selecting those entries which he believed would display her intellectual and literary talents to best effect. And in that, Leonard Woolf has certainly achieved his aim.

'A Writer's Diary' opens with extracts from 1918 and closes with entries made just before Woolf's death in 1941 and in these entries we read of Virginia's discussions on Christina Rossetti, Byron, Conrad, Thomas Hardy, E.M Forster, Arnold Bennett and James Joyce, to name just a few. And of course, we also meet those people who were close to her including: Virginia's sister, the painter, Vanessa Bell; Lytton Strachey; Dora Carrington; Maynard Keynes; Roger Fry; Vita Sackville West, and I could go on; in fact the whole of Bloomsbury is within the covers of this book. We read of Virginia's disappointment when she gets a bad review and of her flashes of jealousy at the amount of attention Lytton Strachey attracts with his writing; but what is most important is that this book shows the writer in the act of writing, in the act of creating her writing and also in her despair at her lack of creativity at times. This is a wonderful book that I dip in and out of all the time and I have more than one copy - if it was on Kindle, I would download it onto my Kindle too. A book to keep by you, to inspire you and offer you endless interest and enjoyment. Highly recommended.

5 Stars.
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