Virginia Woolf's diaries valued at $96,000 in London auction

An extraordinary collection of novelist Virginia Woolf's personal appointment diaries is to sell in Sotheby's English Literature, History, Children's Books & Illustrations auction, which will be held on December 12 in London.

The collection contains eight diaries spanning the author's daily life from 1930 to 1941. It is expected to sell for £40,000-60,000 ($64,000-96,000).

Virginia Woolf Diary Auction
Depression played a major part in Woolf's life - she was institutionalised in 1904

Including more than 1,000 social engagements during the 1930s, the diaries are full of references to members of the Bloomsbury Group - the influential literary circle of which she was part.

Also included are names such as TS Eliot, her lover Vita Sackville-West and Hugh Walpole, as well as her appointment at the BBC on April 29, 1937 where Words Fail Me was recorded, providing the only surviving recording of her voice.

According to Christie's, the years recorded in her diaries were "characterised by intense bursts of creativity". During this time she produced numerous works including The Waves, The Years, Roger Fry, Flush, Three Guineas and Between the Acts.

However, they were also marked with bouts of nervous exhaustion, which are recorded in her diary where several weeks are crossed through with the word "bed" or "ill". The final entry was added on February 18, 1941, just a month before she drowned herself.

Woolf had suffered with depression for most of her life, yet it had been worsened by the outbreak of the second world war, in which her house had been bombed during the Blitz. This, combined with her poorly received biography of the late Roger Fry, led her to fill her pockets with stones and walk into the River Ouse.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering a limited edition, signed copy of Virginia Woolf's Orlando - a semi-autobiographical novel based on the life of her lover Vita Sackville-West.

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