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The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume I: 1915-1919 (Diary of Virginia Woolf #1)

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  988 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Edited and with a Preface by Anne Olivier Bell; Introduction by Quentin Bell; Index.
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published May 26th 1977 by The Hogarth Press (first published 1977)
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Jul 27, 2007 John added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Woolf's diaries spill the milk of pithy, studied, incisive, ridiculous, vain and wholly original observations across the floor, down the front stoop and onto the footpath of England and literature. Observations, in particular, of others, and by extension, the society around her. Inevitably her own prejudices and strengths revealed -- and the word "fangs" might sum up both.

Much more accessible than the tedious novels. But, to understand the milieu and the many many people who make appearances in
Sherry Chandler
Truth is I read these volumes from time to time. I find them more accessible, if you'll allow me that word, than the novels and, in their own way, as brilliant. True there are folks in here I never heard of and care nothing about but there are delicious glimpses of Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, E. M. Forster, Maynard Keynes etc. And in this first volume, some fascinating sketches of what civilian life was like in England during World War I.
Susan Pearce
Jan 03, 2011 Susan Pearce is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this in spare moments. Feeling for Virginia when the Quentin explains, every so often, that the diary is interrupted by another bout of 'insanity' or 'madness'. Prompted to go back to Hermione Lee's bio to remind myself of what form her mental illness took. Being more acquainted than I'd like with how depression operates (thus my love of Zumba classes & bean sprouts) it helps to know that she suffered it and still wrote. Though I'm not planning on the same ending.

Her anti-Semitis


Reading Virginia Woolf's diaries you realise what a fabulous portraitist she was. How brilliantly she captured a personality in an image. i read somewhere that she always planned to write an autobiography when she was sixty. What a loss she didn't because i reckon she would have added something to the form.
Evelin Tamm
Virginia Woolf was a keen observer. Through her diary she opens up her private spaces for the public. In a way it is like being in a museum, things look old and kind of boring at first, but when you get engaged, everything changes. Details become alive and start to talk to those who have time to listen.

Virginia was writing and reading almost all of the time except when she had visitors (mostly writers and then talking about writing and reading). She lived in her own world of literature. This wo
It's a pity I read this book five years ago and, arguably, I was then too busy teaching so I simply didn't have time to think on its review. Some of my Goodreads friends might have wondered why and said it was not fair since they can read its sequel's review, that is, Volume 2 1920-24 I've posted recently. However, I think I would write something worth mentioning from what I underlined, scribbled or marked here and there, in other words, in various pages from which I would select to present as s ...more
I really vacillated between 2 and 3 stars with this one. It was not as exciting to read as I thought it would be. It felt like a long list of her doings and going ons. I was surprised that as much as her fiction seems to be so inwardly focused her diaries are purely outward. Indeed when discussing journal writing with her friend she was surprised to learn that her friend wrote all about her thoughts and feelings, she (VW) stated she had no inner life at all. It detailed who she saw and she did d ...more
I love diaries...I know she's incredibly talented and intelligent-but after so long her diary started to give me a headache. Its definitely not a light read. It was interesting to see her point of view in regards to social standing and politics at the time. My edition had footnotes with multiple references on ONE page which is a nice function if you don't know what she's talking about but at the same time it starts to read like a dictionary. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I couldn't keep ...more
What Virginia Woolf writes here,in the first volume of what would become her massive collection of diaries, is, in her words, "...unpremeditated scribbling...". Of course it is much more than that, providing the reader with an account of the quotidian details of the author's life, which, in an indirect but important way, gives valuable insight into her art. There is an entry for Tuesday, October 7, 1919, which may capture the overriding concern of her work, both in the diaries themselves and in ...more
Rochelle Melander
I love reading the journals and letters of famous writers. In Woolf's journals, you get complete access to the author's daily life, her connections with the Bloomsbury Group and her reflections on writing. The experience of reading Woolf's journals felt a bit like time travel. I almost felt like a resident of the early 20th century.
It contains between 1919 and 1941 years. Written genuinely. Gives hints about the author's psychology. I am impressed as an editor and as a prospect of writer.
Christie Hinrichs
Being the unapologetic voyeur that I am, these journals are riveting. Although it disgusts me a little that even her most random, candid thoughts are sharply articulated and ringing with interesting observations in perfect prose, I couldn't be more relieved when she describes her frequent feelings of insecurity and career panic (yes, she was clinically insane some of the time, but still). She was 30 when she published her first novel (also a huge relief), and describes how her daily routine comp ...more
Uri Asaf
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It was a nice read but a diary as it was, it became repetitious especially after the war was over. Virginia as I knew from here was quite a tell-tale sort of woman and not repentant about it. There was a long lapse when the diary was neglected, the time when she was attacked by her 'madness', but in her writing there was only a comfortable normalcy that should there be any niggling misery one would never found it there unless one was told where to look for it.
It's so reassuring that her diary is borderline boring. She's a wonderful gossip, and Bloomsbury was full of intersting characters, but she remarks even more often on the weather, or what she ate for lunch, than about the people she knew and met, or wartime London for that matter.

There is something about getting inside of other writers' minds that is infinitely fascinating for me. It looks just like any other mind, except it's brilliant. How does that work?
I don't feel right rating these books--it's a diary and therefore really shouldn't have ratings. However, I did really enjoy reading these, though I did feel a little like I was violating the code of never reading another person's diary. But Virginia was an incredible writer both in fiction and academic. I love her writings and reading her journals has given me an understanding I would never have had from just reading her published works
Admittedly, not easy to read. A bit dull in places - but wonderful for the passages that make you feel like you can almost know her - if that makes any sense. It took me at least four months to read this! I own all the volumes of her diaries - British and American printings - but wonder if I'll live long enough to read what she wrote in her spare time. Sigh.
Anila zainub
I read it for my essay on woolf and thats when i got absolutely involved in wanting to know each and every detail of her life. well. it was very interesting but it bothered me that many details were carefully woven even though it was a diary. and her husband was more helpful than history will ever give him credit for.
I absolutely fell in love with Virginia's life and hearing her private thoughts. Why can't I live in a time where famous artists and writers come to stay with me? I want to go out and pick wild mushrooms for lunch and spend the rest of a sleepy day talking about all the books we're recently read. Instead, I have goodreads.
Woolf has been much maligned, mostly through fear of outspoken intelligent women, and through her publication of a book whose main character is a lesbian who isn't a maniac, ill or violent. Woolf's quotes about being female, and particularly for me, on being a middle-aged woman, are insightful and exact.
There's the phssst of VW releasing the harried domestic texture of life. And then, the breathtaking interpolations of all her eye, her ear, her seeing into things into the dull day. It gives me a shiver. It makes me ache for talent.

There are lots of volumes of these. Goody.
So interesting, I had no idea what the lifestyle of the fairly well off was at that time in England... also terribly snooze inducing in places, but I'm sure way more interesting than MY diary would EVER be.
Oct 06, 2014 Carmen marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Am I reading a renowned diary or just footnotes of meaningless acquaintances? Woolf and I deserve better. It is unfortunate that this book will probably be shelved under "currently reading" indefinitely.
Susan Koopmans
I love Woolf's diaries. I am reading Vol 2 now, and wish they were all available as ebooks!
به روزنگارهای دیگر شباهتی ندارد. بیشتر یک اثر ادبی ست که در عین حال شامل برخی مسایل روزمره ی زندگی هم می شود
بخش هایی از این کتاب قطور را بصورت دنباله دار در مجله ی "هفت" با ترجمه ی اسلامی دیده ام.
Virginia Woolf infuses the daily details of her life with life and genius. I have read all of the diaries and was enthralled by all of them.
David J. Larkin, Jr.
I've read (and own) all the diaries. If you're a Woolf fan--and I am--they are very rewarding.
it is possible that i will never not be reading woolf's diaries. it's like that.
Rather brilliant when Woolf stops with the dullness of describing the weather.
Fine, it's a diary. & I like Woolf. Otherwise this would have never been read.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Diary of Virginia Woolf (5 books)
  • The Diary, Vol. 2: 1920-1924
  • The Diary, Vol. 3: 1925-1930
  • The Diary, Vol. 4: 1931-1935
  • The Diary, Vol. 5: 1936-1941
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“I am overwhelmed with things I ought to have written about and never found the proper words.” 18 likes
“and even a tea party means apprehension, breakage” 16 likes
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