Virginia Woolf: A Woman on the Cutting Edge of Free
Virginia Woolf was born on January 25, 1882 in South Kensington, London the seventh a large upper middle class blended family of eight children, and her father, Leslie Stephen, was a prosperous editor and publisher and a great man of letters, Virginia, however, was home schooled by her mother, Julia, in the English classics and Victorian literature while her brothers received formal schooling. But she proved to be talented so her father encouraged her to write and become a giant in the Modernist literary movement of the day.
Woolf had become, in fact, an early practitioner of stream of consciousness and nonlinear writing. Nonlinear writing is a narrative that is not necessarily written in chronological order or contains a smaller plot embedded within a larger plot. She was also very deeply influenced by the brand new feminist of the early 1900s while attending college and glibly wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,” expressing a new spirit of independence stirring in the hearts of modern women in England and America.
Her famous novels include Mrs. Dalloway, a story that follows a turn of the century woman thoughts while planning a party, A Room of Her Own, and To the Lighthouse, a novel that was inspired by a childhood get-away place. And in addition to being a prolific novelist, Woolf was an adept essayest whose quotes include:
You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.
For most of history anonymous was a woman.
Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice it’s natural size.
After the death of her parents Virginia and the other Stephan siblings moved to bohemian Bloomsbury where they led a free and easy life and formed a writer’s community called the Bloomsbury group. And after her marriage Leonard Woolf, the pair founded a publishing company called Hogarth press which published most of Virginia’s work.
Virginia Woolf, unfortunately, died of suicide by drowning herself at the age of 59. She had suffered a series of mental breakdowns stemming from the untimely death of her mother while still a child of age 13 and the death of her stepsister two years later.. But Virginia Woolf proved to be a pivotal force in gaining more equal rights for women in England and America in the quest for voting and equal educational rights.