Academic journal article Woolf Studies Annual

47 Handwritten: January 22, 1930

Academic journal article Woolf Studies Annual

47 Handwritten: January 22, 1930

Article excerpt


22nd January 1930.

Dear Madam,

Though intrusive I would not like you to think me impertinent.

I have read so much of your work with joy that, acting on impulse, and in the fellow feeling of craftsman for craftswoman, I write to say so. Your latest book, "A Room of One's Own", is beside me as I write. I read it through, silently, myself, testing its beautiful prose in my mind by "ear" and thought. Having enjoyed it quietly, to enjoy it again, and to share my joy, I re-read it aloud to my wife. She on hearing much of it so enjoyed it too that, in turn, she has read it all to herself, in quiet, with renewed delight. I'm afraid not many books of to-day will stand such a test of quality, or invite such a test. What a happy marriage there is between your manner and your spirit. And how warm and persuasive are your words & phrases in the truth of that happiness. We love more than art when we write like that. And I think it is the lack of love for that "something more" which is the cause of that chill brilliance, and strutting crudeness, which is so characteristic of much of the literature and art of our day. To my thinking, you embody a real and central truth in Chap. VI. of your little book.

The truly creative artist, while at work, is unconscious of sex as of morals. He or she will work from the sum of themselves,--man-cum-woman, embodying in perfect poise the virtues, powers, and weaknesses of both.

Your opinions and feelings in the presence of Kipling and Galsworthy are exactly mine. I admire both men, and their books. But it seems to me they lack that totality--that poetry of the understanding heart, without which there cannot be a universal appeal or an artistic consummation. …

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