Today in Literary History —> Today is the Birthday of one of my favorite authors. Virginia Woolf was born in Kensington, Middlesex, England on this day in 1882.
Upon the death of her mother in 1895, Woolf suffered the first of the mental health episodes which blighted her life, including a more serious breakdown when her father passed away in 1904.
She began writing at an early age, having her first piece published in December 1904, and writing for the Times Literary Supplement from the following year.
Along with her husband, Leonard, whom she married in 1912, she became part of an influential group of writers known as the Bloomsbury Group prominent in London during the early 20th century.
Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out, was published in 1915, and her subsequent writings established her as one of the leading novelists and essayists of her time.
“Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality, has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time. An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one second.”
~ Virginia Woolf, “Orlando: A Biography” (1928)
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery.”
~ Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own” (1929)
“Let us never cease from thinking—what is this ‘civilisation’ in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them?”
~ Virginia Woolf, “The Three Guineas” (1938)