Virginia Woolf's Letters

I'm often possessed by the romance of pouring through my favorite writers' manuscripts, until I realize that I probably couldn't read many of them. Joyce was nearly blind, Woolf's cursive is so self-importantly proper, it's unreadable, and Henry James had another man's non-arthritic hand copying down The Golden Bowl. 

Reading Woolf's nearly-unreadable hand-written manuscripts for her unfinished memoir A Sketch of the Past suggest that Drucker's observations about the malleability of not language, but the phonmeic symbols called letters is true—and our sudden ability to look at all of these nearly-unreadable manuscripts through the archive prove it. Drucker writes "letters have only to be able to be distinguished form each other, not hold their own pictorial shapes" (Drucker 79). Just because I cannot read the writing, does not mean the writing is not valuable in demonstrating the process of Woolf's thinking. 

Here, Woolf's omissions via her slash-throughs—a phonome of its own—are important textual residue that we can exploit in research.