Woolf Online serves as a digital archive and resource for the study of Virginia Woolf's modernist classic, To the Lighthouse (1927). During the last thirty years or more, Woolf's fiction has generated a massive body of criticism, but surprisingly little of it has drawn upon the extraordinary wealth of surviving source material that Woolf left behind, and the detailed information it can yield as to how her work came to be written. Using the Mojulem software developed by CTSDH faculty, Woolf Online brings together a range of rare material on a digital platform.
This project takes as its case study a highly experimental passage from one of the greatest twentieth-century novels in the English language, “Time Passes,” which formed the central sequence from Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse. Woolf composed the first draft between 30th April and 25th May 1926, with an interval of four days, between 10th and 13th May, when she was working on an article on De Quincey for the Times Literary Supplement. The project aims to bring together the different stages of writing that went into the making of “Time Passes” to create a record of its development in the form of a genetic edition of the text, and to embed that edition in a network of histories and contexts that reconfigure traditional annotation techniques as a system of linked but separate strands of thought, thus producing a new form of literary archaeology.
On this site you will find images and transcriptions of the holograph drafts (in three notebooks housed in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library), the typescripts, the proofs, and various early editions of the novel, including the first British and American editions and their variants. Also included is a wealth of contextual materials, such as diary entries and letters pertaining to the novel, early reviews of the novel, selected essays Woolf wrote during the two- year period during which she worked on To the Lighthouse, and photographs of the Stephen family, Cornwall, and Talland House, all of which inform the setting and characters of the novel. Because the three notebooks housed in the Berg Collection are fragile and access to them is now severely limited, Woolf Online performs an especially valuable service by making these drafts available to scholars, students and the public at large in brilliant images, easily legible with the aid of a magnifying feature and easily readable with transcriptions that overlay images of the originals. Users of this site can page through Woolf's handwritten drafts from cover to cover as if they were in the Berg reading room. Even the verso pages, where Woolf sometimes calculated how many words she had written so far, have been included here.
Woolf Online expands upon a pilot project focused on the "Time Passes" section of To the Lighthouse, begun by the late Julia Briggs and completed at De Montfort University's Centre for Textual Scholarship in 2008.
Project Director: Pamela Caughie and Peter Schillingsburg, Mark Hussey (Pace University); Nick Hayward (chief architect and technical administrator) and George Thiruvathukal.
Field(s): textual scholarship, text encoding, critical infrastructure