This highly original book investigates the part played by their personal writings in the lives of eight literary women. Can private journals provide information about their authors' public works? Do diaries dramatise the development of an individual literary `voice'? What was the special attraction of the diary form for women, and why has it been so undervalued? Drawing on current feminist critical approaches, Judy Simons explores these and other questions in a stimulating and wide-ranging study of women's diary writing, which revises our entire way of thinking about this traditionally neglected genre and its particular implications for the woman writer.