Continuing my leisurely reading of Mrs. Dalloway, also dipping into Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary.
Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary is never away from my bedside table, well worn, much-loved, a constant inspiration. It was by way of that single volume, extracted by Leonard from her many volumes of diaries, that I was led to her novels, and so to the woman I have loved and admired and been fascinated by for fifty years. And still am, still am. But I know the book so well, have read the print off its pages for so long, that it has become part of me.
In A Writer’s Diary Woolf writes of The Hours (the original title of Mrs. Dalloway):
I read such a white dimity rice pudding chapter of Mrs. Gaskell at midnight in the gale Wives and Daughters, I think: it must be better than old wives’ tale all the same. You see, I’m thinking furiously about Reading and Writing. I have no time to describe my plans. I should say a good deal about The Hours and my discovery: how I dig out beautiful caves behind my characters: I think that gives exactly what I want; humanity, humour, depth. The idea is that the caves shall connect and each comes to daylight at the present moment. Dinner!
This afternoon I stole a half hour to mooch around Cecil Court and found a fine copy of the Hogarth Press The Diary of Virginia Woolf Volume I 1915-1919.