WOOLF, Virginia

(1882 - 1941)
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

Adeline Virginia Stephen was born into a privileged family, which centered itself on the literary world, her father was a friend of such noted writers  as William Thackeray and  her home frequently visited by such luminaries as Thomas Carlyle  and Henry James.  Although she was educated at home, she grew up surrounded by the scholarly and erudite, and her father’s vast library provided all the books she could wish for.  With this literary upbringing it was no surprise that the young Virginia decided to write, and over a period of twenty six years she produced a variety of novels, short stories and essays,  which, after 1917, were all published by the Hogarth Press, founded by Virginia and her husband, Leonard Woolf.  With her marriage to Leonard in 1912, Virginia became a founding member of the literary and intellectual set known as the Bloomsbury Group, and developed the Modernist style of literature where, along with others such as T.S. Eliot and James Joyce she experimented with literary form and expression, rarely following a conventional narrative and always evolving her literary style.  She noted that “on or about December 1910, human character changed”  - she was referring to the change in attitudes of society presaged by the Post Impressionist Exhibition organised by her friend Roger Fry, and believed that the Victorian values and dictates she grew up with could now be discarded, and Modernism could be embraced.  Her lyrical stream of consciousness style, as exemplified in Jacob’s Room, was deemed avant garde at the time, but by 1927, when To The Lighthouse was published she was considered by the critics to be a literary genius.

 Her frequent descents into depression have been well documented and she finally took her own life when she was 59.  However her devoted husband collected all her unpublished essays and short stories and produced them at intervals over the following decade.


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 Virginia WOOLF

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