Virginia Woolf on ageing - 'I am I, and must follow that furrow'
|"I rasp. I'm tart." Virginia in 1939 [Giselle Freund]|
"I detest the hardness of old age - I feel it. I rasp. I'm tart.
The fool less prompt to meet the morning dew,
The heart less bounding at emotion new,
And hope, once crush'd, less quick to spring again.
I actually opened Matthew Arnold and copied these lines. While doing so, the idea came to me that why I dislike, and like, so many things idiosyncratically now, is because of my growing detachment from the hierarchy, the patriarchy . . . I walk over the marsh saying 'I am I' and must follow that furrow, not copy another.
That is the only justification for my writing, living."
Virginia Woolf 'A Writer's Diary', Sunday 29th December, 1940
There's a wonderful collection of excerpts from Virginia Woolf's essays, 'Essays on the Self', published by Notting Hill Editions. You can discover it at www.nottinghilleditions.com