Updated July 7, 1997
Created July 7, 1997
(taken from A Writer's Diary) 14 October 1922--Mrs. Dalloway has branched into a book; and I adumbrate here a study of insanity and suicide; the world seen by the sane and the insane side by side--something like that. Septimus Smith? is that a good name? 30 August 1923--I have no time to describe my plans. I should say a good deal about The Hours [which became Mrs. Dalloway], and my discovery: how I dig out beautiful caves behind my characters: I think that gives exactly what I want; humanity, humor, depth. The idea is that the caves shall connect and each come to daylight at the present moment. 15 October 1923óI am stuffed with ideas for it. I feel I can use up everything Iíve ever thought. Certainly, Iím less coerced than Iíve yet been. The doubtful point is, I think, the character of Mrs. Dalloway. It may be too stiff, too glittering and tinselly. But then I can bring innumerable other characters to her support. I wrote the 100th page today. Of course, I've only been feeling my way into it--up fill last August anyhow. It took me a year's groping to discover what I call my tunnelling process, by which I tell the past by installments, as I have need of it. This is my prime discovery so far. 19 June 1923--I want to give life and death, sanity and insanity; I want to criticize the social system, and to show it at work at its most intense. . . . Am I writing The Hours from deep emotion? Of course the mad part tries me so much, makes my mind squirt so badly that I can hardly face spending the next weeks at it. It's a question though of these characters. People, like Arnold Bennett say I can't create, or didn't in Jacobís Room, characters that survive. My answer is--but I leave that to the Nation; its only the old argument that character is dissipated into shreds now; the old post-Dostoievsky argument. I daresay it's true, however, that I havenít that "reality" gift. I insubstantise, wilfully to some extent, distrusing reality--its cheapness. But to get further. Have I the power of conveying the true reality? Or do I write essays about myself?
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