Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen at 22 Hyde Park Gate in London on January 25, 1882 (d. March 28, 1941). She was a writer and became famous for her nonlinear prose style, especially noted in her novels Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. “Woolf based her extended essay A Room of One’s Own on lectures she had given at women’s colleges at Cambridge University. Using such female authors as Jane Austen and Emily and Charlotte Bronte, she examines women and their struggles as artists, their position in literary history and need for independence.” (Source: Online Literature)

Virginia and her husband Leonard would get into the publishing business, together founding the Hogarth Press in 1917. T.S. Eliot would be among the authors published by them. Virginia suffered from bipolar disorder. “The effects of bi-polar disorder at times caused Woolf protracted periods of convalescence, withdrawing from her busy social life, distressed that she could not focus long enough to read or write. She spent times in nursing homes for ‘rest cures’; frankly referred to herself as ‘mad’; said she heard voices and had visions. “My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery—always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?” (from a letter dated 28 Dec. 1932). The subject of suicide enters her stories and essays at times and she disagreed with the perception that it is an act of cowardice and sin. When Virginia was not depressed she worked intensely for long hours at a time. She was vivacious, witty and ebullient company and a member of the Bloomsbury Group or ‘Bloomsbury’ which had been started by her brother Thoby and his friends from Cambridge. It quickly grew to encompass many of London’s literary circle, who gathered to discuss art, literature, and politics. During her life and since her death she has been the subject of much debate and discussion surrounding the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her half-brother, her mental health issues and sexual orientation. Also, her pacifist political views in line with Bloomsbury caused controversy.” (Source: Online Literature)

Virginia Woolf committed suicide on March 28, 1941 by filling her jacket pockets full of stones and walking out into the river. Her body was found later in April and she was cremated. She had left two suicide notes, one had been addressed to Leonard. “Dearest, I feel certain I am going mad again….And I shan’t recover this time…..I am doing what seems the best thing to do….I can’t fight any longer….Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer….I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.

Virginia Woolf at www.biography.com.

Virginia Woolf at Online Literature.

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