Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf (née Adeline Virginia Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer. She was a central figure in the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals.

Her parents were Sir Leslie Stephen(1832–1904) – historian, author, critic and mountaineer -, and Julia Stephen – the niece of the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Woolf was educated by her parents at home. Later, she took courses in Ancient Greek, Latin, German and history at the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London, between 1897 and 1901.

In 1922, Virginia met the writer Vita Sackville-West, with whom she had a love affair which continued into the early 1930s. In 1928, Woolf presented Sackville-West with Orlando, both a parodic biography and a portrait of Vita, “the longest and most charming love letter in literature,” as Nigel Nicolson – Vita’s son – once wrote.

Virginia suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life, and committed suicide by drowning in 1941.



  • The Voyage Out (1915)
  • Night and Day (1919)
  • Jacob’s Room (1922)
  • Mrs Dalloway (1925)
  • To the Lighthouse (1927)
  • Orlando (1928)
  • The Waves (1931)
  • The Years (1937)
  • Between the Acts (1941)

Short story collections

  • Kew Gardens (short story) (1919)
  • Monday or Tuesday (1921)
  • A Haunted House and Other Short Stories (1944)
  • Mrs Dalloway’s Party (1973)
  • The Complete Shorter Fiction (1985)
  • Carlyle’s House and Other Sketches (2003)


  • Orlando: A Biography (1928, usually characterised as a novel inspired by the life of Vita Sackville-West)
  • Flush: A Biography (1933, more explicitly cross-genre: fiction as “stream of consciousness” tale by Flush, a dog; non-fiction in the sense of telling the story of the owner of the dog, Elizabeth Barrett Browning), reprinted in 2005 by Persephone Books
  • Roger Fry: A Biography (1940, usually characterised as non-fiction)

Non-fiction books

  • Modern Fiction (1919)
  • The Common Reader (1925)
  • A Room of One’s Own (1929)
  • On Being Ill (1930)
  • The London Scene (1931)
  • The Common Reader: Second Series (1932)
  • Three Guineas (1938)
  • The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942)
  • The Moment and Other Essays (1947)
  • The Captain’s Death Bed And Other Essays (1950)
  • Granite and Rainbow (1958)
  • Books and Portraits (1978)
  • Women And Writing (1979)
  • Collected Essays (four volumes)


  • Freshwater: A Comedy (performed in 1923, revised in 1935, and published in 1976)

Autobiographical writings and diaries

  • A Writer’s Diary (1953)—Extracts from the complete diary
  • Moments of Being (1976)
  • A Moment’s Liberty: the shorter diary (1990)
  • The Diary of Virginia Woolf (five volumes)—Diary of Virginia Woolf from 1915 to 1941
  • Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897–1909 (1990)
  • Travels With Virginia Woolf (1993)—Greek travel diary of Virginia Woolf, edited by Jan Morris
  • The Platform of Time: Memoirs of Family and Friends, Expanded Edition, edited by S. P. Rosenbaum (London, Hesperus, 2008)


  • Congenial Spirits: The Selected Letters (1993)
  • The Letters of Virginia Woolf 1888–1941 (six volumes, 1975–1980)
  • Paper Darts: The Illustrated Letters of Virginia Woolf (1991)

Books about Virginia

  • Bell, Quentin. Virginia Woolf: A Biography. Rev. ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1996.
  • Bennett, Maxwell. Virginia Woolf and Neuropsychiatry. Dordrecht, London: Springer, 2013.
  • Briggs, Julia. Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2006. ISBN 0-15-603229-5.
  • Caramago, Thomas D. The Flight of the Mind: Virginia Woolf’s Art and Manic-Depressive Illness. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
  • Curtis, Anthony. “Virginia Woolf: Bloomsbury & Beyond”, Haus Books, 2006.
  • Dalsimer, Katherine. Virginia Woolf: Becoming a Writer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-09208-3.
  • Dally, Peter. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Manic Depression and the Life of Virginia Woolf. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2001.
  • Dunn, Jane. A Very Close Conspiracy: Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990.
  • Holtby, Winifred (2007) [1932]. Virginia Woolf: a critical memoir. London: Bloomsbury.ISBN 9780826494436.
  • Gordon, Lyndall. Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life. New York: Norton, 1984.
  • Gruber, Ruth. Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005.
  • Forrester, Viviane. Virginia Woolf: A Portrait. United States: Columbia University Press, 2015.ISBN 0231153562
  • King, James. Virginia Woolf. New York: Norton, 1994.
  • Leaska, Mitchell. Granite and Rainbow: The Hidden Life of Virginia Woolf. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
  • Lee, Hermione. Virginia Woolf. New York: Knopf, 1997.
  • Nicolson, Nigel. Virginia Woolf. New York: Penguin, 2000.
  • Poole, Roger. The Unknown Virginia Woolf. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978.
  • Reid, Panthea. Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Rosenman, Ellen Bayuk. The Invisible Presence: Virginia Woolf and the Mother-Daughter Relationship. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986.
  • Szasz, Thomas. “My Madness Saved Me”: The Madness and Marriage of Virginia Woolf. New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers, 2006.
  • Blair, Emily. Virginia Woolf and the Nineteenth-century Domestic Novel. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007. ISBN 0-7914-7119-5.
  • Dalgarno, Emily. Virginia Woolf and the Visible World. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-521-03360-8.
  • DeSalvo, Louise. Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989.
  • Goldman, Jane. The Feminist Aesthetics of Virginia Woolf. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-521-79458-7.
  • Hussey, Mark. Virginia Woolf and War. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8156-2537-5.
  • Midorikawa, Emily; Sweeney, Emma Claire. A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf (2017, biographical book)
  • Miller, C. Ruth. Virginia Woolf: The Frames of Art and Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. ISBN 0-333-44880-4.
  • Paul, Janis M. The Victorian Heritage of Virginia Woolf: The External World in Her Novels. New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1988. ISBN 0-937664-73-1.
  • Transue, Pamela J. Virginia Woolf and the Politics of Style. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986. ISBN 0-88706-286-5.
  • Hall, Sarah M.. The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury. London, New York: Continuum, ©2007.
  • Sellers, Susan. Vanessa & Virginia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.

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