Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. In 1926 Virginia Woolf contributed an introduction to Victorian Photographs of Famous Men & Fair Women by Julia Margaret Cameron. Cameron was the famous Victorian photographer and Woolf’s great-aunt;
Virginia was born on 25 January 1882 in London, She spent long summer holidays at Talland House in St Ives, Cornwall, and St Ives played a large part in Virginia’s imagination. It was the setting for her novel To the Lighthouse, despite its ostensibly being placed on the Isle of Skye.
In 1895 her mother died unexpectedly, and Virginia suffered her first mental breakdown.
Virginia was allowed uncensored access to her father’s extensive library, and from an early age determined to be a writer. Her education was sketchy and she never went to school.
Virginia had a second breakdown when her father Leslie Stephen died in 1904 . While she was sick, at the end of the year Virginia started reviewing with a clerical paper called 'the Guardian' in 1905 she started reviewing in the Times Literary Supplement and continued writing for that journal for many years.
In 1911 Virginia moved to 38 Brunswick Square. Leonard Woolf had joined the Ceylon Civil Service in 1904 and returned in 1911 on leave. He soon decided that he wanted to marry Virginia, and she eventually agreed. They were married in St Pancras Registry Office on 10 August 1912. They decided to earn money by writing and journalism.
Since about 1908 Virginia had been writing her first novel 'The Voyage Out', It was finished by 1913 but, owing to another severe mental breakdown after her marriage. The novel was fairly conventional in form. She then began writing her second novel Night and Day - if anything even more conventional - which was published in 1919 by Duckworth.
From 1911 Virginia had rented small houses in Sussex.
In 1919 the Woolfs bought Monks House in the village of Rodmell. (Now owned by the National Trust) which they used principally for summer holidays until they were bombed out of their flat in Mecklenburgh Square in 1940 when it became their home.
In 1917 the Woolfs had bought a small hand printing-press in order to take up printing as a hobby and as therapy for Virginia. Woolf wrote, printed and published a couple of experimental short stories, 'The Mark on the Wall' and 'Kew Gardens'. The Woolfs continued handprinting until 1932, but in the meantime they increasingly became publishers rather than printers. From 1921 Virginia always published with the Press, except for a few limited editions.
Her most famous works include the novels 'Mrs Dalloway' (1925), 'To the Lighthouse' (1927) and the book-length essay 'A Room of One's Own' (1929), with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
Recently, studies of Virginia Woolf have focused on feminist and lesbian themes in her work, such as in the 1997 collection of critical essays, Virginia Woolf: Lesbian Readings, edited by Eileen Barrett and Patricia Cramer.
Virginia Woolf once said that her death would be the “one experience I shall never describe. She died March 28, 1941, in Sussex.
(Artwork by Roger Fry -'Virginia Woolf')
As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.
( She was great anarchist :)) K. S