'I shall never forget the day I wrote "The Mark on the Wall" - all in a flash, as if flying, after being kept stone breaking for months. "The Unwritten Novel" was the great discovery, however. That - again in one second - showed me how I could embody all my deposit of experience in a shape that fitted it...I saw, branching out of the tunnel I made, when I discovered that method of approach, Jacob's Room, Mrs Dalloway etc - How I trembled with excitement.' The thrill Woolf got from these stories is readily apparent to the reader. She wrote them in defiance of convention, with a heady feeling of liberation and with a clear sense that she was breaking new ground. Indeed, if she had not made her bold and experimental forays into the short story in the period leading up to the publication of Jacob's Room (1922), it seems certain that her arrival as a great modernist novelist would have been delayed. Quirky, unrestrained, disturbing and surprising, many of these stories, particularly the early ones, are essential to an understanding of Woolf's development as a writer. She thought some of her short fiction might be 'unprintable' but, happily, she was mistaken.
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