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Virginia Woolf's Modernist PathHer Middle Diaries and the Diaries She Read$
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Barbara Lounsberry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062952

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062952.001.0001

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Crisis Calls for a New Diary Audience and Purpose

Crisis Calls for a New Diary Audience and Purpose

(p.9) 1 Crisis Calls for a New Diary Audience and Purpose
Virginia Woolf's Modernist Path

Barbara Lounsberry

University Press of Florida

This chapter explores the first three diaries in Woolf’s second stage and the key acts they disclose. Inordinate diary-writing begins in the fall of 1917, the most intensive in Woolf’s 44-year diary history. She keeps now two diaries, a city diary and a country diary, and writes in both diaries on seventeen days. In July 1918, she brings her city diary to the country and begins to fuse her two diaries. Nature and culture, the unconscious and conscious, female and male join. In August 1918, Woolf recognizes in the open-ended cantos of Byron’s Don Juan, the “elastic shape” and the “random haphazard galloping” style she has been using in her diary as a form and a “method” with artistic benefits. However, in early November 1918 a crisis occurs: withdrawal of female support. Woolf responds with an extraordinary salvaging move. She creates a new audience and purpose for her diary, replacing her aging female now-detractors with “Elderly Virginia.” She now will parent herself. With this move, she offers her diary credo in her 1919 diary and enters her mature second diary stage. She reads Wilfrid Scawen Blunt’s anti-war, anti-imperialist diaries and finds there ammunition for Three Guineas.

Keywords:   1917 diary, 1918 diary, 1919 diary, city diary, country diary, Byron, Don Juan, diary audience, diary purpose, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

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