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The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf
Cambridge University Press
Sue Roe and Susan Sellers
On 26 July 1922, shortly after she finished writing her third novel, Jacob's Room, Virginia Woolf noted in her diary her feeling that, in writing this novel, she had 'found out how to begin (at 40) to say something in [her] own voice' (D2, p. 186). Critics have often followed Woolf's lead in regarding Jacob's Room as a starting-point of some kind. Many monographs on Woolf discuss the novels that preceded Jacob's Room (The Voyage Out (1915) and Night and Day (1919)) only in passing, or not at all, and where they are given more sustained attention they are often dismissed as 'apprentice efforts'. I Woolf's comments appear to authorise developmental reading of her oeuvre, readings which assume that her early novel were attempts to work out who she was as a novelist before, in early middle age, she found her characteristic fictional voice.
Raitt, S. (2010). Virginia Woolf's early novels: Finding a voice. Sue Roe and Susan Sellers (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf (pp. 29-49). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. https://scholarworks.wm.edu/asbookchapters/13