Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf - Virginia Woolf 1882-1941 Born in London She educated herself in her fathers library and her family was all very intelligent and

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Virginia Woolf: 1882-1941 Born in London She educated herself in her father’s library, and her family was all very intelligent and gifted Her older half-brother sexually abused her, her mother died in 1895, her beloved half- sister died in childbirth two years later, her father died of cancer in 1904, and her brother died of typhoid in 1906. After her mother’s death she experienced her first of many mental breakdowns. She settled in the Bloomsbury district of London and belonged to the “Bloomsbury Group”—an intellectual group of literary and artistic friends who lived in or near London during the first half of the twentieth century. Their work deeply influenced literature, aesthetics, criticism, and economics as well as modern attitudes towards feminism, pacifism, and sexuality. She married Leonard Woolf but was also bisexual and fell in love with poet Vita Sackville-West, wife of the bisexual diplomat and author Harold Nicolson. In 1917 the Woolf’s founded the Hogarth Press, which published some of the most interesting literature of their time, including T.S. Eliot and English translations of Freud. In her writing she rebelled against what she called the “materialism” of novelists in the way they depicted social injustice and suffering through realism. She wanted to convey these things more discreetly in her writings by showing human consciousness —where she thought the truth of human experience lay. In her novels she abandoned linear narratives in favor of internal monologues and stream of consciousness narration, exploring with great subtlety the problems of personal identity and personal relationships as well as the significance of time, change, loss, and memory for human personality. While intensely psychological and interior, her novels also found inspiration and material in the physical realities of the body and in the heavily trafficked and populated streets of London. Woolf was also a reviewer and essayist. Over the course of her career, she grew increasingly concerned for the professional plight of women. She advocated the creation of a literature that would include
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women’s experience and ways of thinking, but instead of encouraging an exclusively female perspective, she proposed literature that would be “androgynous in mind” and resonate equally with men and women. She was subject to severe depressions, especially after finishing a book. In March 1941 she drowned herself in a river, an act influenced by her dread of WWII (she and Leonard would have been arrested by the Gestapo had the Nazis invaded England) and her fear that she was about to lose her mind and become a burden on her husband, who had supported her emotionally and intellectually. ****Woolf was known for her free indirect style
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course ENGL 121 taught by Professor Martinez during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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Virginia Woolf - Virginia Woolf 1882-1941 Born in London She educated herself in her fathers library and her family was all very intelligent and

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