By THEA LENARDUZZI
Virginia Woolf made her TLS debut in March 1905, when she was just twenty-three, with a review of two “pilgrimage” books by F. G. Kitton – one concerning “Thackeray Country”, the other “Dickens Country”. “A writer’s country is a territory within his own brain”, Woolf wrote confidently. “No city indeed is so real than this that we make for ourselves and people to our liking”.
These comments came about five years before Woolf started work on The Voyage Out, her debut novel, published in March 1915, whose 100th birthday we mark in the latest episode of TLS Voices. (We’re joined by Hermione Lee, who needs no introduction here.)
Woolf’s novel is a pilgrimage work of a different order, the journey at its core being one of self-discovery rather than the discovery of any other. This accounts, as Lee explains, for the book’s arduous progress: though it was not published until 1915, when Woolf was thirty-three, the novelist had been struggling with it since at least 1910.