MM – Happy Birthday Virginia Woolf

On this day in 1882, Virginia Woolf arrived in the world. Here are a couple of snippets about who she is –

From Wikipedia

Adeline Virginia Woolf (née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. 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.”

Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life, thought to have been what is now termed bipolar disorder, and committed suicide by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59.

And from Encyclopædia Britannica

Virginia Woolf, original name in full Adeline Virginia Stephen (born January 25, 1882, London, England—died March 28, 1941, near Rodmell, Sussex), English writer whose novels, through their nonlinear approaches to narrative, exerted a major influence on the genre.

While she is best known for her novels, especially Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), Woolf also wrote pioneering essays on artistic theory, literary history, women’s writing, and the politics of power. A fine stylist, she experimented with several forms of biographical writing, composed painterly short fictions, and sent to her friends and family a lifetime of brilliant letters.

As to why people are “afraid” of her? Here’s what playwright Edward Albee had to say to the Paris Review, back in 1966

“There was a saloon—it’s changed its name now—on Tenth Street, between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place, that was called something at one time, now called something else, and they had a big mirror on the downstairs bar in this saloon where people used to scrawl graffiti. At one point back in about 1953. . . 1954, I think it was—long before any of us started doing much of anything—I was in there having a beer one night, and I saw “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” scrawled in soap, I suppose, on this mirror. When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means who’s afraid of the big bad wolf . . . who’s afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical university, intellectual joke.”

Here’s a graphic I created out of one of VW’s quotes, paired with a picture of the almost full moon I took back in August 2015 –

Virginia Woolf moon quote

“I want to resemble a sort of liquid light which stretches beyond visibility or invisibility. Tonight I wish to have the valor and daring to belong to the moon” – Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary

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13 thoughts on “MM – Happy Birthday Virginia Woolf

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  1. Oh, happy birthday, Virginia Woolf! I love your graphic, and I love the idea of living life without false illusions (as opposed to true illusions I guess…). 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lori! I’d heard something about the title years ago (I think in high school), but couldn’t remember exactly what it meant, It was so cool to find an archived article from 1966 on the ‘net!

    1. I don’t think most of them do have tragic ends. Most die from cancer or heart disease or old age or car accidents. But the ones who die tragically stay with us because we think of all that could have been done with extra time, and we want their genius longer.

  2. Dear heaven, I think I’ve been in that bar. about 15 years later. How odd.

    I love her. Wonderful piece.

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