The introduction presents the book’s main argument: the new view that Woolf enters a third stage as a diarist (after her first experimental stage and her second, lean modernist diary stage). In Woolf's last dozen years, we see the final flowering of her diary, when she not only turns more often to her own diary than she did in the 1920s but also turns more to others' diaries as well. I suggest that Woolf seems to need diaries more in her final years as a counter to the hysteric drumbeat of war. I argue that Woolf's final diaries should be read as part of her inter-related and multiform battle against tyranny and war across the 1930s. I also call for Woolf's final diaries to be recognized as key texts in the current reassessment of the literary merits of the 1930s. This Introduction previews the book’s second major insight: the heretofore-unexplored role of other diaries in Woolf’s final writing, both fiction and nonfiction.
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