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Clarke brings fresh light to Woolf's essays and enriches them with variations.This penultimate volume forms part of an indispensable, unique collection from one of our greatest writers.
Yet, in answer to my self-imposed questions; the question of the self is central, in some way, to every essay in this collection.
Woolf is transfixed by the nature of the finite self (‘Who am I? ’) and how individual self is anyone, everyone, and yet each self is utterly distinct.
(1927), Woolf also wrote pioneering essays on artistic theory, literary history, women’s writing, and the politics of power.
A fine stylist, she experimented with several forms of biographical writing, composed painterly short fictions, and sent to her friends and family a lifetime of brilliant letters.
Yet, as Woolf acknowledges, this is also the enterprise of any writer: to discern the self in a crowded room, to isolate a single vantage point, to communicate this vantage point to others.
How to express the perceptions of this self, in received language, within the baggy old conventions of the novel, and yet without sacrificing any trace of authenticity or personal realism?
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Virginia Woolf, original name in full Adeline Virginia Stephen, (born January 25, 1882, London, England—died March 28, 1941, near Rodmell, Sussex), English writer whose novels, through their nonlinear approaches to narrative, exerted a major influence on the genre.
The introduction, written by Joanna Kavenna, is very academic and a bit existential but it’s nothing that Virginia Woolf fans aren’t used to. The self of the individual coerced by ordinance, the self behind the mask? She is eloquent on social inequality and the agony of war.
In fact, I think that’s what the publishers of the book were counting on when they put this book together. She is a robust literary antiquarian, she rakes through the past in search of treasure.