Virginia Woolf

Standard Name: Woolf, Virginia
Birth Name: Adeline Virginia Stephen
Nickname: Ginia
Married Name: Adeline Virginia Woolf
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.
Marcus, Jane. “Introduction”. New Feminist Essays on Virginia Woolf, edited by Jane Marcus, Macmillan, 1981, p. i - xx.
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.
Froula, Christine. Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Avant-Garde. Columbia University Press, 2005.
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.
Woolf, Virginia. “Introduction; Editorial Note”. The Essays of Virginia Woolf, edited by Andrew McNeillie, Hogarth Press, 1994, pp. vols. 1 - 4: various pages.
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 Novelwas 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.
Woolf, Virginia. The Letters of Virginia Woolf. Nicolson, Nigel and Joanne TrautmannEditors , Hogarth Press, 1980.
4: 231
Well-known black and white photograph of Virginia Stephen (later Virginia Woolf), 1902.  She is seen in profile, with her hair loosely caught back in a bun
"Virginia Woolf, 1902" Retrieved from This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.
Photograph of Virginia Woolf with hand on face wearing a fur stole. This is a picture from one of Virginia Woolf's own photo albums at Monk's House which were acquired at an auction at Sotheby's in 1982 (cf. Maggie Humm, Snapshots of Bloomsbury: The Private Lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, p. 187), gifted in 1983 by Frederick R. Koch to the Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Libray, Harvard University, and afterwards scanned and uploaded by the library.
"Virginia Woolf" Retrieved from This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Education Doris Lessing
Before attending school and after she left, Doris educated herself by reading. Her parents possessed copies of the classics, like Scott , Dickens , and Kipling . She read widely in the nineteenth century—her favourites...
Education Rumer Godden
RG 's determination to become a writer fuelled a continued self-education. Books were hard to come by in India, yet she managed to find and devour recent publications: Edith Sitwell 's Troy Park and Façade...
Education Margaret Forster
As a very small child MF was noisy and demanding and given to tantrums.
Forster, Margaret. Hidden Lives. Viking, 1995.
At two she talked in long sentences . . . and never stopped asking questions and wanting to try to...
Education Q. D. Leavis
All three of the Roth children had their early education at Latymer School in Hazelbury Lane, Edmonton. This was a co-educational school at which they thrived. Ian MacKillop (biographer of F. R. Leavis) suggests...
Education Eleanor Rathbone
She then, in 1892, began to study Greek under Janet Case , later Virginia Woolf 's tutor and friend. Another point of similarity between the two authors' early educations can be seen in Rathbone's comment...
Education Flannery O'Connor
In summer 1945 Mary Flannery O'Connor graduated from Georgia College (describing it in the yearbook as [t]he usual bunk).
Gooch, Brad. Flannery. Little, Brown and Co., 2009.
She applied to two universities, and the University of Iowa offered her a scholarship...
Education Dorothy Brett
Brett proved an exceptional Slade student. She received first prize for figure painting in her final year. She particularly drew the attention of two of her instructors, Henry Tonks andFrederick Brown . She was...
Education Q. D. Leavis
Queenie also was known for her bookish habits: her tastes ran especially to Henry James , along with the journals the New Statesman, The Spectator, the Times Literary Supplement, and Time and...
Education Helen Dunmore
While HD was growing up she read a lot of Russian fiction and poetry.
McCrum, Robert. “The Siege is a novel for now”. The Observer.
The poems of Osip Mandelstam were her talismans.
McCrum, Robert. “The Siege is a novel for now”. The Observer.
The books that she read, she says, made me, as a person...
Education Olivia Manning
At home Olivia was encouraged to love poetry, learned to read by the time she was four, and was later subjected to piano lessons which taught her nothing. As a teenager and thinking of herself...
Education Harold Pinter
Books borrowed from Hackney Public Library were also important to HP 's education: the moderns (Woolf , Lawrence , Hemingway , Eliot ), and also Dostoyevsky .
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Education Toni Morrison
Chloe Wofford (later TM ) followed her BA with an MA in English Literature from Cornell University , with a thesis on suicide in Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner .
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
Innes, Lyn. “Toni Morrison Obituary”.
Education Mary Kingsley
She was always insecure about her lack of formal education. In Three GuineasVirginia Woolf uses MK 's situation as an example to illustrate her thesis that the daughters of educated men received an unpaid-for...
Education Maggie Gee
This ran to 140,000 words. Looking back, she wrote, I felt like a camel, awkwardly humping a huge top-heavy burden of words across the desert. At every step, something more truthful, wilder, simpler or more...
Education Fay Weldon
Fay attended another progressive establishment, the co-educational Burgess Hill School , which she found absurd, not only noisy and disorderly but actively anti-academic. The best thing about it was being taught English briefly by the...


Madame C. de Broutelles founded the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse, a prestigious French literary prize awarded by a jury of twelve women. A. Mary F. Robinson (an English writer living in France) was a co-founder.
Edmund Gosse anonymously published Father and Son, an autobiography of his early years which presents his father, the scientist Philip Gosse , as an oppressive, small-minded bigot.
Birch, Dinah. “Fond Father”. London Review of Books, pp. 3 - 5.
1 November 1907
The British Museum 's reading room reopened after being cleaned and redecorated; the dome was embellished with the names of canonical male writers, beginning with Chaucer and ending with Browning .
6 May 1910
King Edward VII died, and George V assumed the throne; Virginia Woolf dated a section of The Years from the old king's death.
6 November 1910
Roger Fry organised the Manet and Post-Impressionists exhibition at the Grafton Galleries , which presented the art of Cézanne , Gauguin , Matisse , and Picasso to London for the first time.
4 October 1911
The first electric escalators in the UK were installed, at Earl's Court underground station, London.
June 1913
At the invitation of Margaret Llewelyn Davies , Virginia Woolf attended the Women's Co-operative Guild Congress in Newcastle.
After 18 February 1914
Leonard Woolf published his second novel, The Wise Virgins (which he had begun to write on his honeymoon). Quite different in genre from his first, it is a roman à clef reputedly presenting harsh caricatures...
28 April-1 May 1915
At the International Women's Peace Congress in The Hague, thirteen hundred women delegates from twelve countries founded the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace ; it became the Women's International League for Peace...
From early summer 1915
Garsington Manor, near Oxford, the home of Lady Ottoline and Philip Morrell , became a centre for many pacifists, conscientious objectors, and non-pacifist critics of the war.
1 January 1916
The British edition of Vogue (an American fashion magazine) began publishing from Condé Nast in Hanover Square, London.
Scientist and travel-writer Norman Douglas published his most famous book, the novelSouth Wind, whose ironic questioning of conventional morality appealed to a war-weary public, bringing it great success.
11 November 1918
At 11 a.m. (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month), the Armistice, signed at Compiègne, went into effect, officially ending World War I.
14 May 1920
Time and Tide began publication, offering a feminist approach to literature, politics, and the arts: Naomi Mitchison called it the first avowedly feminist literary journal with any class, in some ways ahead of its time.
Mitchison, Naomi. You May Well Ask: A Memoir 1920-1940. Gollancz, 1979.
Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press published The Rector's Daughter, a novel by F. M. (or Flora Macdonald) Mayor .