Virginia Woolf's third and final diary stage records the ever-nearing wars without that assailed her (and finally surrounded her) and her (artistic) wars within as she sought to address the outer world’s state in a constructive and creative way. In her last dozen years, Woolf's diaries served as a vital tool in her fight against fascism, its tyranny and wars. To understand this is to probe the political implications of genre. A diary's very “ordinariness” works to counter fascism's false, hysterical melodrama. A diary's “prosaic discontinuities” both deflate and defuse the dictators' pumped-up play. Her complex diary portraits further challenge the fascist fantasy of villains and heroes. Woolf's diary is her last major work to reach the public. In this book, I have sought to reveal the foundational role this semi-private diary served for Woolf's public works and for her artistic renewal. Indeed, I believe that her published fiction and nonfiction would not exist without her diary. Among voracious readers, Woolf may be unique in her appreciation of the treasures hidden in diaries. In others' diaries, Woolf sought not only the natural human voice but also the life traces beyond her own, especially ones that she could transform into art. In the end, a diary becomes a perfect image for Virginia Woolf: fragile yet resilient, it is always subject to movement, is rich in renewal, and is inevitably subject to death—and yet, it is deathless as well.
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