P.S. Virginia Woolf's Notes for Mrs. Dalloway
"(a delicious idea comes to me that I will write anything I want to write)"
Midway through a draft of Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf has “a delicious idea.” She realizes that she can write whatever she wants:
(a delicious idea comes to me that I will write anything I want to write)
Woolf’s moment of insight gets at a truth about writing: we can write anything. Of course, that’s also the challenge. We can write anything.
Woolf’s drafts and notes for Mrs. Dalloway fascinate me for precisely this reason: they show her mind working through possible narratives at a time before Mrs. Dalloway, the novel, existed. Before “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”1
So, join me on this exploration of how Woolf took notes as she wrote what many consider to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
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