Virginia Woolf wrote a lot! Apart from the fiction, novels and short stories she also wrote critiques and reviews for various publications such as the Times Literary Supplement, as well a various biographies, the most known of which is her biography of her good friend Roger Fry. Her first published work was a review of ‘The Son of Royal Longbrith by W.D. Howells” published in The Guardian, 14th December 1904 when she was 22.
I am not going to attempt to read everything she wrote, just the main books that were published and a selection of the short pieces that she wrote. For these, I will be refereeing to ‘The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf’ put together and edited by Susan Dick.
This is a fantastically comprehensive book that not only puts these works into chronological order, but it is also supplemented with a wealth of information about the text, when it dates from and it also details the changes to the manuscripts that Virginia Woolf made. It even goes into the detail of words, punctuation and passages of text that are crossed out. Susan Dick must have spent many an hour reading and re-reading Virginia’s original manuscripts to decipher what her intended meaning was. On it’s own it would be a fascinating read, but I am going to use it to supplement my reading of her longer works.
Many of these short stories have been published in collections such as ‘Monday or Tuesday’ and ‘ A Haunted House and Other Short Stories’ but what this book does is to bring them together in the order that they were written, rather than published so you are able to see the progression of Virginia Woolf’s work.
So to begin, I am going to read five short stories written between 1906 and 1909, and a piece written about her sister Vanessa for her nephew Julian in 1908, but I shall begin with Phyllis and Rosamund written in 1906…