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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'Lost' Woolf essay is published
Virginia Woolf
The essay sees Woolf (pictured) portray a fictional Cockney gossip
An essay on London life by acclaimed author Virginia Woolf, previously thought to have been lost, will be republished next month.

The essay - originally one of six written for Good Housekeeping magazine in the early 1930s - has never been published in book form.

Publisher Emma Cahill, of Snowbooks, said a photocopy of the essay had been found on a microfiche system.

Portrait of a Londoner is about a fictitious female cockney gossip.

Ms Cahill said a copy of the original book - The London, Scene, featuring five of the essays - was found in a bookshop.

"One of our team found it while looking around a bookshop in the streets around Bloomsbury, where she used to live," Ms Cahill told BBC News Online.


The microfiche photocopy of the missing article was found at the university of Sussex.

"The copy we found was a photocopy of the original Good Housekeeping article," Ms Cahill said. "We also found the annotated typescript with annotations in her own handwriting.

Detail of the Good Housekeeping article
The articles were published in Good Housekeeping in 1931 and 1932

"It had things such as 'drop caps here, new paragraph here'... it was very exciting," Ms Cahill said.

She said the essay was "a sketch of a cockney lady called Mrs Crowe.

"It's quite a biting sketch of a lady who gossips and chats with her friends, and has people around for tea, and spreads rumours around London," she said.

The book is on general release in October.

"It's especially great for us because we are a small publisher, and we only started last year," she said.

The other essays collected in The London Scene include one about a trip up the Thames to Docklands, and a journey through the capital's bustling Oxford Street.

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