WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941. Autograph Letter Signed ("AVS"), 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo

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Lot 100
WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941.
Autograph Letter Signed ("AVS"), 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo

Sold for US$ 12,500 inc. premium
WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941.
Autograph Letter Signed ("AVS"), 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo conjoined leaves, [London], Wednesday [April 15, 1908], to CLIVE BELL.
Provenance: Sotheby's, Dec 15, 1980, lot 391.

VERY FINE EARLY LETTER ABOUT HER WRITING, AND DESCRIBING HOW, IN A DREAM, SHE SHOWED THE MANUSCRIPT OF HER NOVEL TO HER FATHER, (her first novel, A Voyage Out, not published until 1915). This is a long letter from the young writer to her brother-in-law, with pithy comments on many shared acquaintances and mentioning a recent visit from children. Her sister, Vanessa Bell had given birth to her first child Julian just a few weeks before. About half-way through the letter, Woolf turns to the subject of her writing:
"I dreamt last night that I was showing father the manuscript of my novel; & he smiled, & dropped it on a table, & I was very melancholy, & read it this morning, & thought it bad, You don't realise the depths of modesty in to which I fall."
She interjects thoughts of her sister with these reflections on writing, being evidently preoccupied with her own empathy for Clive. She says she will send Clive two chapters of her biography of Vanessa, but that she is dissatisfied with them.
"I should like to write a very subtle work on the proper writing of lives. What it is that you can write, & what writing is. It comes over me that I know nothing of the art; but blunder in a rash way after motive, & human character ... I should choose my writing to be judged as a chiselled block, unconnected with my hand entirely."
She concludes in pseudo-seduction of Clive, oddly veiled by praise of and physical longing for her sister.
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