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A Writer's Diary

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  2,526 ratings  ·  95 reviews
An invaluable guide to the art and mind of Virginia Woolf, drawn by her husband from the personal record she kept over a period of twenty-seven years. Included are entries that refer to her own writing, others that are clearly writing exercises; accounts of people and scenes relevant to the raw material of her work; and comments on books she was reading. Edited and with a ...more
Paperback, 355 pages
Published March 31st 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 1953)
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Deborah Markus This is a collection of excerpts from Woolf's diaries.
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Virginia Woolf

On January 1, 1953, Leonard Woolf completed his Preface to A Writer's Diary, a compilation of extracts from the 26 volumes of diaries that Virginia Woolf wrote from 1915 until 1941, with the last entry written just four days before her death. This book was published before the five-volume set of Woolf's diaries that is still in print today. Leonard Woolf makes it clear that, especially since so many of the people whom Woolf wrote about were still alive at the point, it was importan
scritch scratch scritch scratch dash
scritch scratch scritch scratch semi-colon
scritch scratch scritch scratch inkblot
the trusty nib flounders a moment
then wades through the puddle of ink
and on to the end of the line
to the end of the page
to the end of that year’s diary
and though it flounders sometimes along the way
the trusty nib keeps on scratching through the diaries
until half-way though the last
it flounders finally


Now for The Longer Review - and
I have to wonder at my timing on this one. Here I am, picking up one of the most perfect books for spurring the self on to writing during the merry month of NaNoWriMo, only to finish in the midst the most recent surge of action in the great Gramazon debacle; a debacle wholly embittered by the concept of self-published authors. Now, I'd like to go the traditional rout of publishing myself, but still. It gives both this review and my dream of writing for a living an air of antagonism, watch your s ...more
This was glorious. I’ve underlined great things on nearly every page. If this is what Virginia Woolf could produce when sitting in bed and simply writing an expansive version of a ‘dear diary’, it tells us something about her genius (she calls it a dialogue of the soul with the soul). It is the best I’ve read by Woolf so far. It is more immediate, more intimate, more relatable than what I’ve read by her before. It is packed with thoughts and feelings and metaphors and meaning.

I’m slowly wading m
La parola scritta permette agli uomini, ai loro gesti, di non morire. Che sia letta o meno, congela atti, pensieri, e li rivitalizza al tempo stesso a ogni richiesta.
E' una lettura piacevole e molto stimolante, questa, durante la quale partecipare alle emozioni, così come a una confidenza. Rende un'idea esatta - non potrebbe essere altrimenti - del calibro della scrittrice e della donna; della sua sensibilità paradossale; del travaglio di ogni creazione; del sollievo di ogni vittoria; dell'uman
هوش بالا وقتی با جزئینگری زنانه ترکیب میشه تبدیل به یه تجربهی جذاب و صد البته ویرانگر میشه. ویرانگرتر از هوش مردانه. ظرافت طبع ویرجینیا وولف رو میشه تو لابهلای صفحات این کتاب دید. یادداشتهای وولف آیرونیوارانه! از سال 1918 (سال جنگ بزرگ) تا 1941 (میانههای جنگ عالمگیر دوم) رو شامل میشه
همهی جذابیت این کتاب برمیگرده به دید زدن حالات روحی یه نویسنده توی یه گسترهی زمانی بیست و چند ساله. وولف اوایل کتاب بسیار حساس هست و بی اعتماد به نفس. دونه دونهی نقدهایی که روی کارهاش می نویسند روش تاثیر میگذاره. ام
Lady Jane
Ah, Virginia. I feel that I know you, although I know that I do not.
I like reading about your struggles and realizing just how much you leave out (this book is excerpts from a much longer diary). I like that you are human, worried, fallible. I want to jump though the pages of time to reassure you that your writing, your reputation and your beautiful works of art will survive. I love you Virginia. How very presumptuous of me.
“Strano come la forza creativa rimette subito in sesto l’universo intero.”

Bisogna armarsi di passione e di pazienza per entrare nell’Io inespresso della Woolf, e salire sulle impalcature di quelle sue lente – e pur sempre operose – costruzioni letterarie. Leggere il suo diario è dare uno sguardo attento dapprima alla planimetria e poi al vero e proprio progetto, portato avanti con impegno e minuziosità, nell’esercizio della scrittura, nell’esercizio del vivere. È partecipare direttamente alla fo
Jenny Maloney
Loved, loved, loved this! I highly recommend this book for writers...especially those who think that they might be struggling in vain. After all, Woolf is now listed as one of the greats and this book is packed with information on her process, her concerns, her self-doubts, and her triumphs. It's inspiring.

The reader does have to keep in mind that this is a diary, and therefore doesn't have a particular 'design'. The emotional ups and downs can be tiring (especially regarding her concern about c
Aman Mittal
There are few writers who write their diaries in a fashion of self-talking. Just to clear one's mind from all the wandering thoughts. I think, that one of the sole purpose of keeping a diary. While reading A Writer's Diary, one has to keep in mind that diaries does not have a specific design by which they are written. It's diary, it can be tedious, and full of blissful thoughts at the same time. It can be an account of one's daily musings, or be a thoughts keeper from time to time. Virginia Wool ...more
Nina Milton
My copy of Virginia Woolf’s A WRITER'S DIARY seems to be a first edition of 1953 from The Hogarth Press. It has that smell of an old book about it – a mix of tobacco, spores and midnight oil. The original owner of the book has written her name in on the first page in slanting black ink...Marjory Todd...and dated it 1/1/54,suggesting that this was a Christmas present. Dipping into it on occasion, as I do, reminds me of something Virginia wrote...What a vast fertility of pleasure books hold for me ...more
Quando un libro mi richiede tempo, rallenta la mia voracità nel leggere e detta i suoi ritmi già so che quasi sicuramente è un libro che mi rimarrà impresso. A volte mi capita, con i Diari di una scrittrice è successo. Forse è stato un errore vedere "Hours" nel mentre, anche se così alcuni particolari supportati dall'immagine ( tipo la tavoletta di scrittura con calamaio incorporato, bellissima) hanno avuto una sorta di sottolineatura.
Quello che provo quando leggo Virginia Woolf è sempre qualcos
Keyifle okumayı umduğum günlük ne yazık ki beklediğim etkiyi yaratmadı. Zira günlüğün baskıya hazırlanması sürecinde neyin yayınlanıp yayınlanmayacagına Woolf'un kocası karar vermiş. Bu da asıl günlüklerden kırpılanlardan kalanların bize ulaşması demek...

Kitapta Woolf'un yazmayı dusunduğu kitaplara, karakterlere dair ip uçları bulabiliyorsunuz. Çevresini anlattığı kısımlarda kırpılanlardan kalanlar çok doyurucu gelmedi bana.

Uygun bir zamanda yeniden yazıldığı dilden okumayı deneyeceğim...

I don't really know much about the relationship between Leonard and Virginia Woolf, but this book was lovingly edited. Excerpted from her unabridged diaries, Leonard Woolf culled the bits that he thought to be most about writing--the process, exercises, etc. These entries detail her exhaustive writing and revision process, as well as the relationship between her own reading and writing. She often sets herself schedules and tasks here, which were interesting to read. Reading this book has re-invi ...more
Argh, the inadequacy of the stars! One star is missing only for all the people and events that went over my head (rather that I let pass by). But even at her most informal (or especially?), Woolf is striking. The last year (1940-1941; the war) is affecting enough to balance out that last stretch of the diaries that is not as concerned with writing as the preceding. The brevity and casualness of her "notes" and the repetition of her anguish and fear and anxiety with every book are somehow warming ...more
Heather Mize

I suppose your diary is the one place it's ok to be self obsessed, but I find Woolf's ego and narcissism off putting. Most writers have ego's of course, but I get the feeling Woolf writes more to stroke her ego than she does for story. I find her and Joyce to be overrated. I don't think inaccessible, scholarly writing is what makes good literature. Story does. It's fiction for crying out loud! I am impressed most when writers are not trying to impress! Of course Woolf is deeply insecure and cri
Ahmad Sharabiani
یک یادداشت روزانه از وولف، یادداشت سهشنبه 19 ژوئن
دفترچه را با این ایده به دست گرفتم که شاید درباره نوشتنم چیزی بگویم. بر اثر نگاه کردن به آنچه کاترین مانسفیلد در «لانه کبوتر» درباره نوشتن خود گفته بود، برانگیخته شدم. ولی فقط به آن نگاهی کردم. درباره احساسات ژرف بسیار گفته بود، همچنین درباره پاکی، که از آن انتقاد نمیکنم، در حالی که میتوانم. اما خب، درباره نوشتههایم چه احساسی دارم؟- این کتاب یعنی «ساعتها»1، اگر عنوانش همین باشد؟ داستایوسکی گفت آدم باید از احساسات عمیق بنویسد. آیا من چنین میکنم؟ یا
There are few writers who fascinate me as completely as Virginia Woolf. Aside from her clearly brilliant mind and the breadth and depth of her cannon of work, we, as readers, have been afforded the opportunity to experience the world and hear about Virginia's creative processes -- and how at times her madness about life fueled those processes -- through her own very articulate voice.

Through the madness there is absolute clarity -- not IN SPITE of it, but rather BECAUSE of it, I'd argue.

This work
There are times when I think that Virginia Woolf was our most passionate, observant and shrewd writer and that is most in evidence, perhaps, in her diaries and letters. Here she is sharp, entertaining, thrilling, brilliant, sorrowful and inspiring, and yet, always, human.
She says this: “I get the strangest feeling now of our all being in the midst of some vast operation: of the splendor of this undertaking—life: of being capable of dying: an immensity surrounds me. No—I can’t get it—shall let i
cosa dire di nuovo oltre tutto quello che abbiamo gi detto nel gruppo di lettura?
in questo diario c' tutta virginia woolf, nonostante i tagli effettuati dal marito leonard rispetto alla vita privata, quella pi intima e quella pubblica. c' la virginia woolf scrittrice, sempre in cerca di approvazione e recensioni ai suoi scritti (ma anche orgogliosamente disinteressata alle critiche e ai giudizi negativi), c' la virginia woolf critica letteraria, spietata, attenta, spigolosa, studiosa e meticolos
Partendo dal fatto che io amo alla follia la Woolf, non potevo che comprare questo libro e riconoscerci dentro l'evoluzione dei suoi romanzi, che io ho amato e apprezzato come ho potuto fare con poche altre mie letture. Il diario rappresenta la vera vita di una scrittrice, e mostra come i sentimenti degli uomini non cambino mai, anche se vivono in uno sfondo storico-culturale diverso. Bellissimo.
Jul 11, 2008 Anad rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Virginia's writing
I'm only about halfway through right now, and there are a number of tedious parts and some repeats but it's interesting to see how hard on herself she was and how modern in her thinking. She is very unsentimental which I like, and some of her insights and depressions related to being an artist (with words) resonated with me and my own struggles.
Josephine Ensign
"A note: despair at the badness of the book: can't think how I could ever write such stuff--and with such excitement: that's yesterday: today I think it is good again. A note, by way of advising other Virginias with other books that this is the way of the thing: up down up down---and Lord knows the truth." This quote of Woolf's, which she wrote on November 14th, 1934, and which appears a little over half-way in this collection of diary extracts, is one of my favorites and also sums up the book. ...more
Virginia Woolf has always fascinated me. I have read a great deal about the Bloombury Group and envied the literary circle they lived in.

Her husband put this book together after she died and it is a testament not only to her writing and creative process, but also of the mental battle that ultimately led to her suicide.

Kathleen Amshoff
Just so inspiring. It's fascinating to see her muse about her craft, especially if you know her books. First she doesn't have a handle on it, then she feels she's mastered it, then she's afraid she's lost again... And she's as sensitive to praise and criticism as any of us. Reassuring reading for the artist.
Stephen Hayes
Extracts from Virginia Woolf's diaries, selected by her husband Leonard Woolf. The extracts deal with her reading and writing, and describe the progress of her novels and other works in the period from 1919 to 1941, when she died. Why is it that I often find diaries and biographies of writers so much more interesting than the books they write? Certainly the case with V. Woolf. I tried reading her Jacob's room, but gave up after a few chapters. I did manage to findish The Waves though.
This is an inspirational book with which to begin a new year. My favourite, most reviving book of 2014 was Mrs Dalloway, so I added this collection of Woolf's diary entries to my Christmas reading. In it Virginia is charming, engaging, loveable. I don't know enough to be sure if this was a creation by Leonard Woolf who edited these letters, but I wish we had been 19 together and had the chance to explore the literary world with her. I would be so attached to someone who started a diary entry by ...more
ای مرگ ! می خواهم خود را به سویت افکنم شکست ناپذیر و به زانو در نیامده.
Aura Mircea
The inside workings of a complicated and extremely sensitive mind.
Mar 14, 2007 azadeh added it
in this book you can really know who virijinia wolf was.
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es
More about Virginia Woolf...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“I will not be "famous," "great." I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.” 379 likes
“I enjoy almost everything. Yet I have some restless searcher in me. Why is there not a discovery in life? Something one can lay hands on and say “This is it”? My depression is a harassed feeling. I’m looking: but that’s not it — that’s not it. What is it? And shall I die before I find it?” 62 likes
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