Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye Lord Harcourt, Good-bye 2011

2011, I leave you with this bit of black humor from Woolf's 1919 review of Edward Jerningham and his Friends:

‘Lord Harcourt, indeed, vanished in an extremely abrupt and, to him, unpleasant manner, being found “in a narrow well, nothing appearing above water but the feet and legs, occasioned, as it is imagined, by his over-reaching himself to save the life of a favourite dog, who was found in the well with him, standing on his lordship’s feet"’ (E 3:60-61)
Happy New Year to all. 

The edition is due on January 31. I am in the thick of it. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Even Woolf nods

In the finished novel, Clarissa's maybe-I-should-have-married-him friend, Peter Walsh, has a young (24) girlfriend called, obviously enough, Daisy. But in the draft, she was, for a moment & far too obviously, Daisy Summers. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to learn how ham-fisted Woolf could be in her drafts and how sure she was in her revisions to excise such silliness.

Daisy Buchanan came into being in the spring of 1925 as well, by the way.

As a name, Daisy first became popular in the Victorian period, along with other flower names. 

Monday, December 05, 2011

The threshold

This fragment from Mansfield's diaries, close to the end of her life, hits a little too close to home.
Above all else, I do still lack application. It's not right. There is so much to do, and I do so little. Look at the stories that wait and wait, just at the threshold. Why don't I let them in? (The Dove's Nest xvi; from her Diary, July 1921)
Indeed. Why didn't she? Why don't we? And then:
My deepest desire is to be a writer, to have 'a body of work' done--and there the work is, there the stories wait for me, grow tired, wilt, fade, because I will not come. When first they knock, how eager and fresh they are! And I hear and I acknowledge them, and till I go on sitting at the window, playing with the ball of wool. What is to be done?
Such a mystery of creativity and work.
Back to Mrs. Dalloway I go.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Draft Textual Note of the Day: Elizabeth's dogs

10:10 absurd woolly dogs Notebook 2 includes this cancelled phrase, giving the dogs to Elizabeth. There is no closing parenthesis in the draft: “(as her Elizabeth would be giving their absurd woolly dogs a run;” (Notebook 2 117; H 255)