1910–15: Moratorium and Crisis

  • John Mepham
Part of the Macmillan Literary Lives book series


On her death in 1909 Caroline Stephen left her niece a generous legacy. Virginia’s capital was now and for the next few years enough for her to be able to live on the income. From 1910 onwards, for this reason but also later because of illness, her journalistic writing was reduced, eventually to zero. She had started to write a novel, Melymbrosia, in 1908. She now took this up full-time. It seemed in early 1912 to be almost finished. But then she began to rewrite it drastically. It became The Voyage Out and was eventually delivered to the publisher in 1913. Because of her mentally unbalanced state, publication was delayed until March 1915. It was not until 1916 that she started to write again for the Times Literary Supplement.1


Social Script English Culture Private Thought American Edition Literary Life 
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  1. 1.
    For the history of The Voyage Out and its various drafts see Virginia Woolf, Melymbrosia: An Early Version of The Voyage Out, ed. Louise DeSalvo (New York Public Library, 1982)Google Scholar
  2. and Louise DeSalvo, Virginia Woolf’s First Voyage: A Novel in the Making (Macmillan, 1980)Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    The concept of the ‘moratorium’ derives from the work of Erik Erikson and is discussed in relation to Virginia Woolf by Carolyn Heilbrun, Writing a Woman’s Life (Norton, 1988).Google Scholar
  4. Alex Zwerdling, Virginia Woolf and the Real World (University of California Press, 1986) applies the concept to the case of Jacob Flanders in Jacob’s Room.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Leonard Woolf, The Wise Virgins cited Roger Poole, The Unknown Virginia Woolf (Cambridge University Press, 1978) p. 95.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Frances Spalding, Vanessa Bell (Macmillan, 1984) p. 61.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    For more details see George Spater and Ian Parsons, A Marriage of True Minds: An Intimate Portrait of Leonard and Virginia Woolf (Jonathan Cape and the Hogarth Press, 1977) chapter 6.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gerald Brenan, Personal Record 1920–72 (Jonathan Cape, 1974) p. 156.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    For the best class analysis of the Bloomsbury Group see Raymond Williams, ‘The Bloomsbury Fraction’ in Problems in Materialism and Culture (Verso, 1980).Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (Hill and Wang, 1978) p. 73.Google Scholar

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© John Mepham 1991

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  • John Mepham

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