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 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 Kathleen Raine
KR was very impressed by the occasion on which Virginia Woolf , accompanied by Vita Sackville-West , gave her paper A Room of One's Own to the Girton Literary Society before its publication. She was...
Family and Intimate relationships Lady Anne Clifford
LAC 's father, George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland , was not only a land-owner but also a merchant-adventurer. From his most successful voyages he returned with cargoes of exotic produce and artefacts (as mentioned...
Family and Intimate relationships Ray Strachey
RS 's sister, Karin , was one of the first Freudian psychoanalysts.
Strachey, Barbara. Remarkable Relations: The Story of the Pearsall Smith Women. Universe Books, 1980.
She became the first woman at Cambridge to receive a Star, or Distinction, in Philosophy.
Strachey, Barbara. Remarkable Relations: The Story of the Pearsall Smith Women. Universe Books, 1980.
She married Adrian Stephen , Virginia Woolf 's younger brother.
Strachey, Barbara. Remarkable Relations: The Story of the Pearsall Smith Women. Universe Books, 1980.
Family and Intimate relationships Walter Pater
WP was particularly close to his unmarried sisters. Both women were accomplished in their own right. The elder sister, Hester , became known as a talented embroiderer and friend to Mary Augusta Ward and Virginia Woolf
Family and Intimate relationships Ethel Smyth
ES met Virginia Woolf ; their friendship continued until Woolf's death in 1941.
Collis, Louise. Impetuous Heart: The Story of Ethel Smyth. William Kimber, 1984.
Family and Intimate relationships Dora Carrington
DC began a long friendship with Virginia Woolf when she was summoned to Woolf's country home, Asheham, after breaking into the house with Barbara Hiles and David Garnett .
Gerzina, Gretchen. Carrington: A Life of Dora Carrington, 1893-1932. John Murray, 1989.
Family and Intimate relationships Constance Garnett
David married twice and had four children by the time of his mother's death. His first wife, Ray Garnett , was an artist and illustrator. His second wife, Angelica Bell , was the daughter of...
Family and Intimate relationships Dora Carrington
DC met her greatest love, the writer Lytton Strachey , during a three-day stay at Asheham, the Sussex home of Virginia (and Leonard) Woolf .
This was a year which in Virginia Woolf's life was...
Family and Intimate relationships Elizabeth Taylor
The couple had two children: a son, Renny, born in June 1937, and a daughter, Joanna, born on 1 February 1941, after a labour during which ET was mostly alone while her husband was out...
Family and Intimate relationships Dorothy Bussy
Dorothy's immediate family was large and vibrant: she had nine surviving siblings, most of whom distinguished themselves in the public realm. Her sister Philippa (Pippa) Strachey (1872-1968) was a longtime suffragist who organized the first...
Family and Intimate relationships Dora Carrington
Woolf recalled their first conversation to Garnett : It flatters us a good deal to see what a reputation for a temper we've got. I telephoned to Miss Carrington, and heard her quake at the...
Family and Intimate relationships Emily Davies
Margaret Llewelyn Davies of the Women's Cooperative Guild , friend of Virginia Woolf , was ED 's niece.
Family and Intimate relationships Dorothy Bussy
(Joan) Pernel Strachey (1876-1951) was Tutor, Lecturer in Modern Languages, Vice-Principal, and then from 1923 to 1941 Principal of Newnham College . She hosted Virginia Woolf in October 1928 when Woolf addressed the Newnham Arts Society
Family and Intimate relationships Dora Carrington
As part of a suicide watch around Carrington organized by her friends, Virginia and Leonard Woolf visited her at Ham Spray on 10 March. Virginia later wrote in her diary: She burst into tears &...


Leonard and Virginia Woolf published Edwin Muir 's First Poems.
Members of the British Federation of University Women (later known as the British Federation of Women Graduates ) established the Sybil Campbell Libraryfor the study of the expansion of the role of women in recent generations.
Edwin Muir published The Structure of the Novel.
30 May 1929
Labour came in twenty-six votes ahead of the Conservatives in the first general election with full women's suffrage: the prospect of voting by women under thirty brought the demeaning nickname of the Flapper Election....
20 September 1929
In an Evening Standard article, Supreme Gift Denied to Women, James Laver wrote that women did not reach the first rank as creative artists—though he did allow greatness to Virginia Woolf .
Margaret Llewelyn Davies edited a collection of reminiscences about the Women's Co-operative Guild (WCG) entitled Life as We Have Known It.
November 1933
An exhibition was held of the urban-domestic paintings of modern realist Walter Sickert ; Virginia Woolf attended.
M. G. Ostle edited The Note-books of a Woman Alone, selections from the diary of Eve or Evelyn Wilson , who lived alone and wrote in seclusion.
21-25 June 1935
The First International Congress of Writers for the Defence of Culture (an anti-fascist event urging the responsibility of writers to their society) was held in Paris.
1 October 1935
At the Labour Party 's annual conference Ernest Bevin made a dramatic attack on the pacifist views of the leader, George Lansbury , who thereupon resigned.
The Church of EnglandArchbishops' Commission on Women and the Ministry drew its conclusions and published its report.
7 March 1936
Hitler marched into and appropriated the Rhineland: neither France nor Britain opposed him.
The second number of Orion. A Miscellany appeared: Rosamond Lehmann was one of the editors, along with C. Day Lewis and Edwin Muir .
Critic Erich Auerbach published, in German, the influential study which became in its English translation, 1953, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. He wrote it at Istanbul, as a Jewish refugee...
By December 1952
Woodcut-engraver Gwen Raverat, née Darwin , published Period Piece, her extremely popular memoir of her Victorian childhood in Cambridge; by 1975 it had sold 120,000 copies in Britain alone.