Here’s a good indexing illustration: on the first page of this year, Leonard replaced the word “Vita” with “X.”

Many people confuse indexes with concordances, which are lists of keywords found in the text.

But a good index maps the webs of concepts in a book. You can talk about death for a page without writing the word “death.”

An index also covers proper names, but if you ran keyword searches in this text for mentions of Sackville West, Vita, rather than pulling index entries while actually reading through the text page by page, you would miss this one.

I happen to be following along in the complete diaries, and so I noticed the redaction.

Virginia and Vita

I think he did it for his usual reason: Vita was still alive at the time of publication, and Virginia is saying things in her diary that she might not have said in person. But it’s a substantive mention–Virginia is evaluating Vita’s prose–so in it goes.

She finishes To The Lighthouse, is happy with it, and for once is not that anxious about reviews, just the opinions of her friends. Preorders (See sales ?) are over 1600, a record for her.

Ideas for her novel Orlando are coalescing in the form of a book called Jessamy Brides, The, a rather different idea she talks about at length, so I’m indexing both those titles and cross-referencing them.

She almost forgets that To The Lighthouse is coming out. When the reviews start coming she has a depressing one from Times Literary Supplement, The but then a slew of praise. “What is the use of saying one is indifferent to reviews when positive praise, though mingled with blame, gives one such a start on that…one feels flooded with ideas?”

Vita appears more often — Virginia and Leonard go for walks with her, go to the award ceremony where she is given a poetry prize, travel with her and her husband Harold to view the eclipse. This is more of a rest year, including her sudden plunge into writing Orlando (novel), which is one of her fun projects in between serious novels.

Outside of that she shops for houses, describes the village of Rodmell, socializes, plots for more income, and at the end of the year, reprimands herself for her narcissism–“am getting into the habit of flashy talk…to forget one’s own sharp absurd little personality, reputation and the rest of it, one should read; see outsiders; think more; write more logically; above all be full of work; and practise anonymity.”




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