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ABSTRACT. Extraordinary creativity like that reached by Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) no doubt came at a price. The crucial question in her case is, of course, Was that price her very own life? – as was the case, for instance, with Truman Capote, who eventually may have committed direct or indirect suicide. With the present paper we propose to begin an exploration – in several sections – of the nature of the high price paid by Virginia Woolf for reaching literary immortality, considering both her life history and her creativity as mirrored in her writings. In Section I (this issue), which serves as an introductory study, we review essential matters relative to the price paid by this woman of genius for her extraordinary success as a writer who for her entire life lived under the sign of mental disorder (psychosis). In the present paper we focus on the following: 1) essential biographical aspects; 2) the novel entitled The Waves, now largely recognized as one of her masterpieces; and 3) the last five years of her life as reflected in The Diary. In the future issues, with a view to understanding the nature of Virginia Woolf’s genius, contribution to creativity, mental problems, and enigmatic suicide – the final price paid for her outstanding creative energy –, we will focus, in turn, on the following (not necessarily in this order): a) The Diary in its entirety (five volumes) – this can be considered as a special dialogue with herself, meant to be read only by us, her posterity, not by her contemporaries, which is why this document is of special interest to us here and is to be given in-depth and detailed consideration; b) The Letters (six volumes) – dialogues with other people; c) The Essays (six volumes; and additionally: the long essay A Room of One’s Own, 1929; the tract Three Guineas, 1938; and Roger Fry: a biography, 1940) – critical dialogues with society, posterity, and herself ; d) the novels (ten volumes: The Voyage Out, 1915; Night and Day, 1919; Jacob’s Room, 1922; Mrs Dalloway, 1925; To the Lighthouse, 1927; Orlando, 1928; The Waves, 1931; Flush, 1933; The Years, 1937; Between the Acts, 1941) – dialogues with creativity itself and with literary form, here we meet Woolf at the peak of her creative powers; e) the short stories – dialogues with the potential possibilities of narrative form – here we meet Woolf probing the possible depths of creative “waters.” pp. 178–204

Mihai A. Stroe
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University of Bucharest

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