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Becoming Virginia WoolfHer Early Diaries and the Diaries She Read$
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Barbara Lounsberry

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049915

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049915.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Choosing the Outsider Role

Choosing the Outsider Role

(p.54) 3 Choosing the Outsider Role
Becoming Virginia Woolf

Barbara Lounsberry

University Press of Florida

This chapter offers a close reading of Woolf’s pivotal 1903 diary at age 21—perhaps the most important of all her 38 diary books. In the crucible of family crisis—her father’s slow death—Woolf makes a conscious (saving) move to the outsider’s position. She contrasts London with the country across this diary: London representing for her culture, the male literary tradition, even (social) death; the country standing for nature, the female, and the unconscious mind. The 1903 Diary offers the first sign of the vital role the downs and solitary country strolls will play in Woolf’s creative life. As she rejects London social success and chooses the outsider role, she reads (and praises) James Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson. Boswell’s Journal introduces Woolf to Dr. Johnson. Her 1903 Diary offers the first glimpses of Woolf the uncommon critic of her Common Reader essays.

Keywords:   Woolf’s 1903 diary, London, country, social success, outsider role, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, Dr. Johnson

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