Introduced by Joanna Kavenna
The essays in this collection are, of course, not merely concerned with the self. Virginia Woolf does also discuss the rights of women, the revolutions of modernity, the past, present and future of the novel.
She is eloquent on social inequality and the agony of war.
She is a robust literary antiquarian, she rakes through the past in search of treasure.
She is transfixed, as well, by the aesthetic contests of the present, the dynamic incompleteness of her era.
She fights with local demons, she mocks those who mock her, and generally prevails.
The essays chosen here were written between 1919 when Woolf was 37 and 1940 when she was 58. During this time, Woolf changed, many times over, her opinions changed, her circumstances too; she was not a fixed entity, reiterating a rigid and immaculate position each time she picked up her pen.