A Haunted House, and other short stories, by Virginia Woolf

Foreword by Leonard Woolf

Monday or Tuesday, the only book of short stories by Virginia Woolf which appeared in her lifetime, was published 22 years ago, in 1921. It has been out of print for years. All through her life, Virginia Woolf used at intervals to write short stories. It was her custom, whenever an idea for one occurred to her, to sketch it out in a very rough form and then to put it away in a drawer. Later, if an editor asked her for a short story, and she felt in the mood to write one (which was not frequent), she would take a sketch out of her drawer and rewrite it, sometimes a great many times. Or if she felt, as she often did, while writing a novel that she required to rest her mind by working at something else for a time, she would either write a critical essay or work upon one of her sketches for short stories.

For some time before her death we had often discussed the possibility of her republishing Monday or Tuesday, or publishing a new volume of collected short stories. Finally, in 1940, she decided that she would get together a new volume of such stories and include in it most of the stories which had appeared originally in Monday or Tuesday, as well as some published subsequently in magazines and some unpublished. Our idea was that she should produce a volume of critical essays in 1941 and the volume of stories in 1942.

In the present volume I have tried to carry out her intention. I have included in it six out of the eight stories or sketches which originally appeared in Monday or Tuesday. The two omitted by me are “A Society”, and “Blue and Green”; I know that she had decided not to include the first and I am practically certain that she would not have included the second. I have then printed six stories which appeared in magazines between 1922 and 1941; they are: “The New Dress”, “The Shooting Party”, “Lappin and Lapinova”, “Solid Objects”, “The Lady in the Looking–Glass”, and “The Duchess and the Jeweller”. The magazines in which they appeared were: THE FORUM, HARPER’S BAZAAR, THE ATHENAEUM, HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. Finally I have included six unpublished stories. (It is possible that one of these, “Moments of Being”, was published. My own recollection was that it had been, but there is no record of its publication, and I have printed it from a typescript.) It is with some hesitation that I have included them. None of them, except “Moments of Being” and “The Searchlight”, are finally revised by her, and she would certainly have done a great deal of work on them before she published them. At least four of them are only just in the stage beyond that of her first sketch.


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