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Virginia Woolf entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
Excerpts
Works By
Thousands of readers over three or four generations have known that Virginia Woolf was—by a beadle—denied access to the library of a great university. They may have known, too, that she was a leading intellect of the twentieth century. If they are feminist readers they will know that she "thought . . . back through her mothers" and also "sideways through her sisters" and that she contributed more than any other in the twentieth century to the recovery of women's writing. Bibliographic Citation link. Educated "in her father's library" and in a far more than usually demanding school of life, she radically altered the course not only of the English tradition but also of the several traditions of literature in English. Bibliographic Citation link. She wrote prodigiously—nine published novels, as well as stories, essays (including two crucial books on feminism, its relation to education and to war), diaries, letters, biographies (both serious and burlesque), and criticism. As a literary journalist in a wide range of forums, she addressed the major social issues of her time in more than a million words. Bibliographic Citation link. She left a richly documented life in words, inventing a 'modern' fiction, theorising modernity, writing the woman into the picture. She built this outstandingly influential work, which has had its impact on both writing and life, on her personal experience, and her fictions emerge to a striking degree from her life, her gender, and her moment in history. In a sketch of her career written to Ethel Smyth she said that a short story called "An Unwritten Novel" "was the great discovery . . . . That—again in one second—showed me how I could embody all my deposit of experience in a shape that fitted it." Bibliographic Citation link.
Milestones
25 January 1882 Adeline Virginia Stephen, later VW, was born at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington, London, the third of the four children of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Stephen. Bibliographic Citation link.
February 1891 Virginia Stephen (later VW) and her siblings began to produce the "Hyde Park Gate News" for their family. Bibliographic Citation link.
14 May 1925 VW published her novel Mrs. Dalloway with her own Hogarth Press. Two thousand copies were printed. The American edition was published the same day by Harcourt, Brace and Company. Bibliographic Citation link.
20 October 1928 VW delivered one of her two papers, "Women and Fiction" (later revised to become A Room of One's Own), at Newnham College, Cambridge. Bibliographic Citation link.
26 October 1928 VW travelled to Cambridge with Vita Sackville-West to deliver a second "Women and Fiction" paper at Girton College. Bibliographic Citation link.
March 1929 VW published "Women and Fiction" (from her two lectures given at the women's colleges at Cambridge) in Forum (New York). Bibliographic Citation link.
24 October 1929 VW published A Room of One's Own simultaneously with the Hogarth Press and with Harcourt Brace in America. Bibliographic Citation link.
22 November 1929 An excerpt from VW's A Room of One's Own appeared in Time and Tide. Bibliographic Citation link.
28 March 1941 VW wrote what may have been her second suicide letter to her husband Leonard, then went out and drowned herself in the River Ouse near Rodmell. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
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