On one of Woolf’s most iconic short stories
Virginia Woolf’s distinctive talents did not arrive fully formed in her first published work. One of her very first published pieces of writing was actually produced when she was still very young: it was an obituary for the family dog, Shag. When Woolf published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915, there were a few signs that she would become a great modernist writer, but not many. The Mrs Dalloway who appears in this first, altogether more conventional novel is markedly different from her reincarnation, in the novel Mrs Dalloway, ten years later. In the ten years that intervened, Woolf had forged a new path for herself, and published two further novels. But it was in short fiction that she first perfected the modernist style that would make her one of the great writers of the twentieth century.
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