A Room of Her Own
by Jennifer Kiley
HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIRGINIA WOOLF b. 25th January 1882 — 28 March 1941
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” — Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” ― Virginia Woolf
During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), 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.”
“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” ― Virginia Woolf
“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” ― Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf
Her personal life from childhood on was filled with loss and abuse and breakdowns in reaction to suffering due much from what was happening to her and the fact that her mother emotionally abandoned her then died and shortly after her half sister died also. She had half brothers who sexually abused her and lived in a male world where she was not allowed to have the same educated benefits of men. Even with all this that she was up against she stil spoke out about the injustices done to women.
“The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity. ” ― Virginia Woolf
“Love, the poet said, is woman’s whole existence.” ― Virginia Woolf, Orlando
“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.” ― Virginia Woolf
In her writing, Virginia expressed the relationships in her life, very autobiographical. It was her way of working through the disturbances she had and was living through. She didn’t seek out psychoanalysis even though her husband Leonard and her published Sigmund Freud through their Hogarth Press.
She did suffere from manic-depression with hallucinations and her deep depressions made her life and abilities seem hopeless. Near the end, she felt she was bringing down her husband and she felt once again she was losing her mind but felt that this time she wasn’t going to return.
“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.” ― Virginia Woolf, Orlando
“For it would seem – her case proved it – that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.” ― Virginia Woolf, Orlando
After completing the manuscript of her last (posthumously published) novel, Between the Acts, Woolf fell into a depression similar to that which she had earlier experienced. The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz, and the cool reception given to her biography of her late friend Roger Fry all worsened her condition until she was unable to work. On 28 March 1941, Woolf put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, and walked into the River Ouse near her home and drowned herself. Woolf’s body was not found until 18 April 1941. Her husband buried her cremated remains under an elm in the garden of Monk’s House, their home in Rodmell, Sussex.
In her last note to her husband she wrote:
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.
“I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual” ― Virginia Woolf
“To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is…at last, to love it for what it is, and then to put it away.”
― Virginia Woolf
“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.” ― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
I feel so connected to Virginia Woolf in many ways and have a strong sense of what she lived through and could truly understand why she made the final decision at the end to take her own life. One can live with so much pain for so long and when you feel that you are losing that mind that gives you an escape into your writing so that at least you have an outlet in which to express directly or symbolically what is or has occurred in your life, than what is the alternative to fight that battle with the madness that is always trying to possess you and you feel it has finally won the battle against you. Walking into a river, Virginia felt was the only way to walk away from what was torturing her and I feel that she didn’t feel she could carry on making those she love have to suffer any longer worrying about her as she was losing who she was forever. This is just my theory. jk the secret keeper
Philip Glass-The Hours
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Philip Glass-Vanessa and the Changelings
“They went in and out of each other’s minds without any effort.” ― Virginia Woolf
Philip Glass-Dead Things
“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.” ― Virginia Woolf
Philip Glass-The Poet Act
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” ― Virginia Woolf
“I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.” ― Virginia Woolf, Night and Day