Woolf is Becoming a January Theme

Continuing my leisurely reading of Mrs. Dalloway, also dipping into Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary.

Susan Hill mentions the Diary as her touchstone in Howards End is on the Landing. Hill writes:

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.

Woolf in Winter

A first: I am to participate in a shared reading of Virginia Woolf beginning in January. The schedule will comprise:

January 15th – Mrs. Dalloway
January 29th – To The Lighthouse
February 12th – Orlando
February 26th – The Waves

Fortunately I discovered all four, unread, in my library. It will be a splendid opportunity to read Woolf beyond a few essays.

It is ironic and somehow fitting to come across this challenge directly after finishing Susan Hill’s Howards End is on the Landing. Woolf is Hill’s favourite, much lauded author.