Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Advice for memoir writers, c.1923

From Woolf’s letters:
“A little comb and a brush is all thats needed. You know how Clive conceals his bald patch? Well, that’s how to treat your memoirs.” (L 3.41; 21 May 1923; to Molly MacCarthy)
It’s a wonderful quotation. Woolf loved to tease about her brother-in-law, Clive Bell's, bald spot. Still, it’s very odd to hear Woolf, who, with Lytton Strachey, so famously transformed biography from Victorian reverence to modernist honesty, advising her friend to just comb over the truth. I must say, fan of memoirs though I am, I often do wish for a little concealer.

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