By Barbara Lounsberry
Starting with fourteen-year-old Woolf’s first palm-sized leather-based diary, Becoming Virginia Woolf illuminates how her deepest and public writing used to be formed through the diaries of different writers together with Samuel Pepys, James Boswell, the French Goncourt brothers, Mary Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Woolf’s “diary parents”—Sir Walter Scott and Fanny Burney. those key literary connections open a brand new and vital window onto the tale of 1 of literature’s most famous modernists.
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Additional resources for Becoming Virginia Woolf: Her Early Diaries and the Diaries She Read
On February 1, “Poor Miss Jan is bewildered” at being pressed into the role of Stella’s chaperone—a sentence that allows the diarist not only to identify her emotion and its cause but also to administer sympathy to herself (PA 27). Nineteen days later “Poor Miss Jan utterly lost her wits” at the Stillmans. In this more extended use Virginia again offers sympathy to her distressed self (“Poor Miss Jan”); however, she also owns her behavior through vivid description and appears, through analysis, to accept her social limits: “So we left, I with the conviction that what ever talents Miss Jan may have, she does not possess the one qualifying her to shine in good society” (PA 39).
18 Fanny Burney and her diary, I believe, hover (literally) in the background of A Room of One’s Own. Judith Shakespeare may have “set fire” to her early “scribblings,” Woolf speculates there (49). Woman before the eighteenth century “never writes her own life and scarcely keeps a diary” (47). Diarist Burney, in fact, may be so important that Woolf cannot directly own the legacy. Instead she demonstrates the influence separately and creatively through the engaging Burney essays, works allowing the colt (Burney) to gallop around the field, and the woman (Woolf) to fill her pail at the well—and any donkey who wishes to bray.
Diarist Burney, in fact, may be so important that Woolf cannot directly own the legacy. Instead she demonstrates the influence separately and creatively through the engaging Burney essays, works allowing the colt (Burney) to gallop around the field, and the woman (Woolf) to fill her pail at the well—and any donkey who wishes to bray. On May 5, 1930, Woolf writes to Vita Sackville-West from Taunton in Somerset: “Every street like Pope or Dryden: and everywhere Burke stayed or Sir Walter Scott, Wordsworth and Fanny Burney” (L #2173, 4: 162–63).