Woolfian Dithering

Among the recent French publishing headlines, the reissue this very month of Virginia Woolf’s complete diary has gone practically unnoticed, compared to the latest sentimental fad by bestseller novelist Anna Gavalda. I don’t get the impression that Virginia Woolf is so well known and appreciated this side of the Channel, even if there was a successful biography by French female writers Agnes Desarthes and Genevieve Brisac in 2004.


Yet to me, being able to get her diary from 1915 to 1941 in one paperback volume, and another separate volume for her teenaged journals is quite an event. And it IS cheap! It was out of print for a while and I only had access to it (in no less than 5 rather worn-out volumes) at our local public library, where I took the habit of reading a random chapter whenever I went there.


What’s a Woolf fan’s to do? I wish I could continue with my little habit, although I doubt that in the coming months I’ll be able to linger much in the library (rather, dash in and out with a crying baby and many glares behind my back).


Also, there is the language question to consider. Although I find Woolf’s novels very difficult to read in English, her essays (I loved Moments of Being) and diary are not, so I should be perfectly able to read it in its original language. But to my knowledge, there is no complete edition of her diary in English in a single volume, and now is definitely not the best time to crowd our bookshelves…



Anyway, I have no urgent need of this precise book, since I have still many unread articles in the 2 volumes of Woolf’s Common Reader. Should I wait until some British publisher has the great idea to imitate its French counterpart? I wish such a publisher would come across my blog and see how it would meet a real need on the bookworm market. Any advice? I feel it’s just a matter of time before I yield to the temptation…


3 thoughts on “Woolfian Dithering

  1. I would love to read the whole of Woolf’s diary – I’ve only read the ‘A Writer’s Diary’ version, heavily edited by Leonard Woolf, and frequently wondered what he had cut out. Five volumes is quite off-putting though. I hope someone this side of the Channel does take up the single volume idea.

  2. I’d love to have a single volume of Woolf’s diary too. I’ve read the first volume and want to get the second but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I can see why you’d be tempted by the French version!

  3. I’ve always wished for a single volume of her diaries so hooray for the French publisher that decided to OK this project. It would be completely silly for me to get this version but it is tempting…

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