Books: Personals: A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries

"A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries" by Thomas Mallon Ticknor & Fields; 318 pages; $15.95

"I wonder why I do it," Virginia Woolf mused on Oct. 7, 1919. "Partly, I think, from my old sense of the race of time 'Time's winged chariot hurrying near'--Does it stay it?" "It" was diary writing, and the question was rhetorical. Of course the entries could stop time, by providing a mirror of the self and a method of recapturing the past. That is a truth every diarist apprehends, first instinctively and then with the evidence of the page. In this critical anthology, Thomas Mallon, a professor of English at Vassar, offers hundreds of such proofs, from diaries as old...

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