13 December 2006

On ‘A Writer’s Diary’

“At the best and even unexpurgated, diaries give a distorted or one-sided portrait of the writer, because, as Virginia Woolf herself remarks somewhere in these diaries, one gets into the habit of recording one particular kind of mood – irritation or misery, say – and of not writing one’s diary when one is feeling the opposite. The portrait is therefore from the start unbalanced, and, if someone then deliberately removes another characteristic, it may well become a mere caricature.”

(Leonard Woolf, in the preface of his wife Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Writer’s Diary’ which was published 12 years after her death. ‘A Writer’s Diary’ contains edited excerpts from Virginia Woolf’s diary manuscripts.)

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