20 December 2005

critiqued by Virginia Woolf

[Sebastian Sprott offered Hogarth Press (the press belonging to Virginia and Leonard Woolf) the opportunity to publish his novel. This is Virginia Woolf's response.]

25th March 1925

Dear Sebastian,

Your book has interested me very much, but on the whole we don't think we can publish it; though we are extremely sorry not to. My feeling is that you don't get going till rather late -- it seems as if your theme interested you, and not the people; so that in spite of the fact that the end gets an emotion which is quite genuine, it is too late to tell; and as a whole the book is not pulled off. I only give you these criticims as you asked me; honestly, I don't trust myself on other peoples novels, simply because, as I write them myself, I get my eye out. I feel that you ought to stand more on your own feet, and that at present you accept too brilliantly what other people tell you and are afraid of your own observations. But this may well be nonsense. The other point is that the public won't like the theme or understand it, which of course makes it risky from the publishing point of view. But it will be very interesting to see what you write next, though after this plain speaking we have no right to ask you to let us see it. . .

Virginia Woolf

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