Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf , photograph by George Charles Beresford , 1902Signature of Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf [ vəˈdʒɪnjə wʊlf ] (born January 25, 1882 in London , †  March 28,  1941 at Rodmell near Lewes , Sussex ; born Adeline Virginia Stephen ) was a British writer and publisher . She came from a wealthy intellectual family who had numerous contacts with writers. As a teenager, she experienced the Victorian restrictions on girls and women. She was early on as a literary critic and essayistactive; her career as a novelist began in 1915 with the novel The Voyage Out (The trip out) . In the late 1920s she was a successful and internationally known writer. Woolf was rediscovered in the 1970s when her essay A Room of One's Own ( A Room of One's Own ) in 1929 as one of the most quoted texts of the new women's movement was. With her avant-garde work, she is one of the most important authors of classical modernism alongside Gertrude Stein .


Childhood and adolescence

Leslie Stephen, around 1860. Photographer unknown
Julia Stephen with Virginia, 1884. Photograph by Henry H. H. Cameron
22 Hyde Park Gate, 2015
Virginia Stephen (left) and her sister Vanessa . Photography before 1900

Virginia Woolf was the daughter of the writer, historian, essayist, biographer and mountaineer Sir Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) and his second wife Julia Prinsep Jackson (1846-1895). She had three siblings: Vanessa Stephen (1879-1961), Thoby Stephen (1880-1906) and Adrian Stephen (1883-1948). There were also half-sister Laura Makepeace Stephen (1870–1945) from her father's first marriage to Harriet Marion Thackeray (1840–1875) and half-siblings George Herbert Duckworth (1868–1934), Stella Duckworth (1869–1897) and Gerald Duckworth ( 1870–1937) from her mother's first marriage to Herbert Duckworth (1833–1870). The family residence was in the London borough of Kensington , 22 Hyde Park Gate. The intellectual and artistic elite of the time, such as Alfred Tennyson , Thomas Hardy , Henry James and Edward Burne-Jones , attended Leslie Stephen's salon.

Psychoanalysts and biographers describe that the half-siblings Gerald and George Duckworth abused Virginia or at least touched it immorally more often and thus set one of the triggers for their manic-depressive illness, which is now known as bipolar disorder . Virginia herself only hinted at corresponding experiences in her autobiographical text A Sketch of the Past, in keeping with the rigid Victorian era. Hermione Lee writes in her biography of Virginia Woolf: "The evidence is strong enough but also ambiguous enough to pave the way for contradicting psychobiographical interpretations that paint very different depictions of Virginia Woolf's inner workings." Others, working more from a psychiatric point of view Scientists point out her family's genetic predisposition . It was known of Virginia's father that, especially after the death of his wife, he suffered from attacks of self-doubt and symptoms of overwork, which manifested themselves in persistent headaches, insomnia, irritability and anxiety; The daughter later complained of similar complaints.

Virginia Stephen did not attend school, but received private tuition from private tutors and her father. She was impressed by her father's literary work and his work as editor of the monumental work Dictionary of National Biography as well as by his extensive private library; therefore she expressed her desire to become a writer at an early age. When her mother died on May 5, 1895, thirteen-year-old Virginia suffered her first mental breakdown. Her half-sister Stella, who initially ran the household after Julia Stephen's death, married Jack Hills two years later and left the parental home. Stella died of peritonitis a little later on her honeymoon .

St Ives, view of the harbor bay

From 1882 to 1894 the family spent the summer holidays at Talland House , their summer home overlooking Porthminster Beach and the Godrevy Point lighthouse. It was in the small coastal town of St Ives in Cornwall , which became an artists' colony in 1928 . Virginia describes the situation in Sketched Memories :

Contemporary photography by Talland House

“Our house was […] on the hill. […] It had an ideal view […] over the whole bay, as far as the Godrevyer lighthouse. On the slope of the hill there were small lawns framed by dense flowering bushes […]. You entered Talland House through a large wooden gate - [...] and then on the right hand side you came to "Lugaus." [...] From the Lugausplatz you had a completely unobstructed view of the bay. "

In 1895 the house was sold to the Scottish painter Thomas Millie Dow . Virginia returned to St Ives often. She later described the place and the nearby lighthouse at Godrevy Point, Jacob's Room ( Jacobs rooms ) and To the Lighthouse ( to the lighthouse ) . London and St Ives will often be the setting for their works.

Virginia Stephen with her father, 1902

On June 26, 1902, Virginia's father was named Knight Commander of the Bath . During this time Virginia was writing various essays and preparing them for publication. In January 1904, Virginia's first article for a women's supplement was printed in the Guardian . On February 22, 1904, the father died of cancer. This marked the end of a period for Virginia that was marked by the exhausting dealings with the difficult personality of Leslie. The hardships for Virginia and Vanessa had already started in 1897 with the death of Virginia's half-sister Stella, who had assumed the role of the caring wife for Leslie. Ten weeks after her father's death, Virginia suffered her second episode of mental illness, from which she was not able to recover until the end of the year.

In 1899, Virginia's older brother Thoby began studying at Trinity College , Cambridge . At a dinner on November 17, 1904, Virginia met his friend, her future husband Leonard Woolf , who was studying law and was about to accept a position in colonial service in Ceylon .

Bloomsbury Group

Dora Carrington : Lytton Strachey, 1916
Thoby Stephen, photograph by George Charles Beresford , before 1906

The Stephen siblings moved from Kensington to Bloomsbury to the house at 46 Gordon Square in 1905 . Here Thoby began to establish Thursday as a jour fixe for a get-together with his friends. With this custom the foundation stone of the Bloomsbury Group was laid, which consisted in part of members of the Cambridge Apostles . In addition to Virginia writers such as Saxon Sydney-Turner , David Herbert Lawrence , Lytton Strachey , Leonard Woolf, painters such as Mark Gertler , Duncan Grant , Roger Fry and Virginia's sister Vanessa, critics such as Clive Bell and Desmond MacCarthy, and scholars such as John Maynard belonged to this circle Keynes and Bertrand Russell .

Vanessa Bell, photo by George Charles Beresford, 1902

Virginia was grateful to be able to participate in discussions in this intellectual circle - Vanessa and she and Mary MacCarthy were the only women - and to free herself from the moral fetters of her upbringing. In the same year, Virginia began writing for various newspapers and magazines; her work on the Times Literary Supplement lasted until the end of her life. From the end of the year through 1907 she taught English literature and history at Morley College, an educational establishment for working adults.

On November 20, 1906, Thoby Stephen, Virginia's older brother, fell ill with typhus while traveling through Greece and died soon after returning at the age of 26 - a loss Virginia suffered from. Shortly thereafter, Vanessa became engaged to Clive Bell; they married on February 7, 1907 and stayed at the Gordon Square house while Virginia and Adrian Stephen moved to the house at  29 Fitzroy Square , also in Bloomsbury.

29 Fitzroy Square in Bloomsbury, London. The home of Virginia and Adrian Stephen (1907-1911)

The jour fixe of the "Bloomsberries" had two bases; Vanessa Bell's salon was initially the more progressive one. The tone of voice became more relaxed, the participants spoke to each other by their first names, the conversations were not only of an intellectual character, but were carried by human warmth. English philistineism was the opponent they wanted to fight together, in literature, art and sexuality.

Lady Ottoline Morrell, 1902

The following year Virginia made a trip to Siena and Perugia and returned to Great Britain after a stay in Paris. In February 1909, Lytton Strachey proposed marriage to her, despite his homosexuality, which Virginia accepted. Strachey changed his mind, however, and both agreed to forget the motion.

In the summer of 1909, Virginia made the acquaintance of Lady Ottoline Morrell , an aristocrat and patron of the arts. This joined the Bloomsbury circle and fascinated with its extravagant appearance. Their exotic lifestyle influenced the group, so the members gladly accepted the invitation to come to their home in Bedford Square at ten o'clock on Thursdays , where visitors such as DH Lawrence and Winston Churchill gathered in the drawing room. In 1915, their house at Garsington Manor near Oxford became the meeting place for the "Bloomsberries". Virginia set Ottoline Morrell in her novel Mrs Dalloway , which she referred to as the "Garsington novel", a literary monument.

Also in 1909, Virginia Stephen inherited £ 2,500 from her aunt Caroline Emelia Stephen (1834-1909); the inheritance made it easier for her to continue her writing career.

The dreadnought prank

The photo from the Daily Mirror : The “delegation” with Virginia Woolf on the far left, her brother Adrian as interpreter third from the left

On February 10, 1910, Virginia organized together with Duncan Grant, her brother Adrian Stephen and three other "Bloomsberries" the dreadnought prank , which led to an official request in the House of Lords. After registering, the troops traveled to Weymouth in an adventurous elevator with a successfully forged telegram to the warship HMS Dreadnought . Virginia, Duncan, and two of their friends wore fantasy oriental clothing, glued-on beards, and were painted black beyond recognition. At the invitation of the Commander in Chief of the warship, they visited the HMS Dreadnought as a delegation of four princely diplomats from Abyssinia , a member of the British Foreign Office and an interpreter . The fun was successful: a delegation led the delegation through the top-secret ship, the flags were hoisted, and the band played in their honor. However, she played the national anthem of Zanzibar , since the Abyssinian could not be found. The princely group chatted with a few words of Swahili , and the interpreter spoke a few lines of Virgil's gibberish . Fortunately for her, the only crew member whose native language was Swahili was not on board that day.

Horace Cole, a member of the group, sent a photo of the reception to the Daily Mirror , which published it. He also went to the Foreign Office in person to report the prank. With their coup, the "Bloomsberries" wanted to mock the bureaucracy and the " Empire ", which they saw with regard to the name of the ship, "Dreadnought" (fear nothing) , which was also the prototype of a whole series of new combat ship types with the same name, also in wordplay Sense succeeded; in this respect it was a double embarrassment for the military leadership. The Royal Navy demanded that the instigator Horace Cole be arrested, but to no avail as the group had broken no law. Cole offered to be dealt six strokes of the cane on the condition that he could hit back. Duncan Grant was kidnapped by three men, received two blows in a field and took the subway home in slippers.

Marriage and debut novel

Engagement photo 1912

In 1911 Virginia rented a house in the village of Firle, near Lewes , Sussex, and named it Little Talland House in memory of happy childhood days in Cornwall . However, it was only a stopgap solution, a little later Virginia and Vanessa leased the nearby Asheham house , which Virginia loved very much and where she spent a lot of time between 1912 and 1919. Virginia and Adrian Stephen moved from the London apartment on Fitzroy Square, whose lease was expiring, to the house at 38 Brunswick Square. John Maynard Keynes, his friend Duncan Grant and Leonard Woolf also occupied rooms there as sub-tenants, much to the displeasure of their relatives: " A young unmarried woman, surrounded by a horde of young men! "

In January 1912, Leonard Woolf proposed marriage to Virginia on the advice of Lytton Strachey. He had taken a leave of absence from colonial service and returned to England in June 1911. She hesitated and suffered another episode of depressive illness that required her to be admitted to Twickenham Hospital. Leonard was not allowed to visit her. Four months later she consented, although, as she wrote to Leonard, he did not exert any physical attraction on her. She loves him to the best of her ability. His love for her was the decisive factor in her consent. Virginia wrote to friend Violet Dickinson on June 5, 1912: “I will marry Leonard Woolf. He's a Jew and doesn't have a penny. I'm happier than anyone ever thought possible - […] ”, and the next day she and Leonard sent a joint postcard to Lytton Strachey with the words:“ Ha! Ha! ”Followed by their signatures.

Roger Fry: Self-Portrait , around 1928

The ceremony took place on August 10, 1912 at the St Pancras registry office . Leonard left the colonial service and went to various odd jobs; for example, he was secretary to his Bloomsbury friend, the painter Roger Fry, and organized the second Post-Impressionist exhibition for him in the "Grafton Galleries". He then found a job with the "Charity Organization Society" and worked as a reviewer of political books for the "New Statesman". In 1913 he published his first novel, The Village and the Jungle , in which he processed his experiences in colonial service.

Roger Fry : Portrait of Virginia Woolf , around 1917

A doctor advised the young married couple against having children - Virginia's health was too weak. Her depression worsened, and on September 9, 1913, Virginia made her first suicide attempt using sleeping pills. Nevertheless, she described her marriage as happy - in Leonard she had found an understanding and educated husband who saw her affectionate relationships with other women with serenity and who could bear their frigidity towards him.

The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 did not cause any problems for the young couple, apart from a shortage of food, life went on as if nothing had happened. Virginia felt her doubts about the male world confirmed, since Leonard found the war "pointless and useless", but would not have resisted a draft; due to a congenital tremor of his limbs, he was not called up for military service.

In 1915 Virginia and Leonard moved to Hogarth House in Richmond near London. In the same year Virginia debuted with her novel The Voyage Out (The trip out) , the & Co. at Duckworth was published, the publisher of her half-brother Gerald. The Voyage Out shows clear autobiographical traces.

Foundation of the Hogarth Press

Hogarth House , 34 Paradise Road, Richmond near London. Residence and publishing house from 1917 to 1924

Following the example of the Omega Workshops artist workshop founded by Roger Fry in 1913 , the Woolf couple founded The Hogarth Press publishing house in 1917 . They specialized in modern literature from Great Britain, the USA and Russia . In July 1917, the production began with the delivery of Two Stories containing each a history of spouse, The Mark on the Wall (The mark on the wall) of Virginia, Three Jews of Leonard Woolf. The couple put the 34-page brochure by hand. Since the Woolfs didn't have enough letters , they set two pages, printed them on a second-hand Minerva platen printing press , dissolved the set and then set the next two pages. In this way it took them a good two months to print the edition of 150 copies. Then the binding also took place by hand .

Cover of the first edition of Two Stories , 1917

The small debut work of the publisher, with four woodcuts by Dora Carrington , a friend of Lytton Strachey, had already been pre-ordered by 100 friends and acquaintances, and the last copies were sold within two years. One of the first hand-set works was Prelude by the writer Katherine Mansfield ; however, their friendship was ambivalent. Mansfield played a double game: opposite Virginia she praised The Mark on the Wall , behind her back she called the work banal. By 1932 he had written a total of 34 books. Hogarth Press became increasingly professionalized, but only Virginia's third novel, Jacobs Zimmer (Jacob's Room) , could be published in its own publishing house. In his 1967 memoir published by Hogarth Press, Leonard Woolf recalls: "We printed in the pantry, bound the books in the dining room, and interviewed authors, bookbinders and printers in a living room."

Shakespeare's works in her Monk's House bedroom , hand-bound by Virginia Woolf

Virginia's role at Hogarth Press was to recruit new writers and proofread their manuscripts . So she noted in her diary on December 8, 1929: “I read & read & have definitely finished a pile of manuscripts of 3 feet, read carefully; much of it at the border, which therefore required reflection. ”Leonard was responsible for the management, but he also won many authors, mainly from the political and economic areas. Vanessa Bell designed illustrations for Virginia's books and was responsible for the cover design of her works. Reissued in 1927, Kew Gardens was the most attractive publication in the collaboration between the sisters.

The Woolfs made a wrong decision when they rejected the novel Ulysses by James Joyce , which was offered to them for publication in April 1918. At that time only the first chapters were available, but even these were already too extensive to be set and printed by hand. Because of the obscene content, they couldn't find another printer to take responsibility for the text. Moreover, Virginia was not convinced of the content and wrote to Lytton Strachey on April 23: "First there is a dog who p - t - then there is a man who farts, and even on this subject one can be monotonous - Besides, I don't think his method, which is sophisticated, means much more than skipping explanations and putting thoughts in dashes: that's why I don't think we'll do it. "

Acquisition of Monk's House

Cottage Monk's House in Rodmell, Sussex
Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf, photograph by Ottoline Morrell , 1923

In July 1919, the couple bought a simple Woolf Cottage in Rodmell ( Sussex ), Monk's House called; they had bought it for £ 700 since Asheham had been fired from them. In the garden stood two huge elms , which all visitors and friends of the house called Virginia & Leonard . The Woolfs added additions to Monk's House, and over the years they imagined it with carpets, tapestries, fabrics, mirrors, tiles, and screens by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. A model for the decoration was the interior of the Charleston Farmhouse near Firle, six miles away from Monk's House, which they had rented in 1916 , which Vanessa and Duncan had jointly planned . Regular meetings of the "Bloomsberries" took place in both houses.

In the same year Virginia Woolf's Tales Kew Gardens (In the Botanical Gardens) were published by her own publishing house and her second novel Night and Day (Day and Night) was published by Duckworth.

1922 appeared almost simultaneously with the Ulysses by James Joyce , her novel Jacob's Room ( Jacobs rooms ) . In this novel, like Joyce, she worked with the technique of the inner monologue and with this concept broke the conventional narrative technique. The protagonist Jacob is very similar to her late brother Thoby. The book was a sales success, brought the author recognition in the literary avant-garde scene and invitations from important personalities. Leonard Woolf became features editor at the weekly Nation and was able to contribute to the common income in this way.

Vita Sackville-West

William Strang : Lady with a Red Hat - Vita Sackville-West , 1918

In December 1922 she met the writer Vita Sackville-West , the wife of the diplomat Harold Nicolson . From the friendly relationship a three-year close love relationship developed (1925–1928), which turned into friendship and lasted until Virginia's death. At the same time, a business relationship developed: she published Vita's works in the Hogarth Press, for example the novella Passenger to Teheran in 1926 , as well as works by her husband Harold Nicolson, although Virginia did not particularly appreciate Vita's work and described it as being produced with a "tin spring" . Rather, their attraction lay in their masculine beauty, their noble connections and love of adventure.

Virginia's nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell , described the relationship: “Virginia felt like a lover feels: she was despondent when she felt neglected, desperate when Vita was not there, impatiently waited for letters, needed Vitas company and lived in the strange mixture of elation and despair that is characteristic of lovers - and one would think only lovers. "

Vita Sackville-West's son, Nigel Nicolson , published his mother's letter to her husband in his book Portrait of a Marriage from his parents' correspondence: “I love Virginia - who wouldn't? But [...] the love for Virginia is something completely different: something emotional, something spiritual, if you will, a matter of the intellect [...] I 'm deadly afraid of causing physical feelings in her because of the madness [...] I have slept with her (twice), but that's all. "

Mrs. Dalloway , To the lighthouse

Godrevy Lighthouse on St Ives Bay

In 1924 the Woolf couple moved back to Bloomsbury and rented a publishing house and apartment at 52 Tavistock Square . In the same year Virginia published her widely acclaimed essay Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown , which came to a critical account with the traditional narrative art and conceptually introduced her most important novel Mrs Dalloway , which came out in 1925. Originally the novel should be called The Hours like the later film by Stephen Daldry . It was innovative narrative technique of stream-of-consciousness ( stream of consciousness ) with which it presented the events through the thoughts, moods and impressions of various fictional characters. She had already tried this method in Jacob's Room , but perfected it here. Her collection of essays, The Common Reader , was also published in 1925 , in which previously published essays and reviews were published together with new works, such as the essay on the contemporary American novel.

After the appearance of Mrs Dalloway Virginia began on August 6, 1925, the writing of the novel To the Lighthouse ( to the lighthouse ) , the could punctuated by depressive episodes, in January 1927 to complete. She originally wanted to call the work an " elegy " rather than a "novel". Leonard called it a masterpiece, and she, too, was satisfied with her work: “Dear me, how beautiful some parts of The Lighthouse are! Soft & supple, & deep, I mean, & not a single wrong word, for pages sometimes. ” Zum Leuchtturm is an autobiographical novel that deals with the history of the Stephen family. The writing came close to a psychoanalysis , the therapy consisted of storytelling and banished the domination of the parents over them. It's kind of a ghost story, the story of a haunted house, Talland House in St Ives, although the novel is set on the Isle of Skye . The protagonist Mrs. Ramsay's dark feelings about loneliness and death were also Virginia's feelings.


Knole House in 1880

In the spring and summer of 1928, Virginia and Vita went on a long trip through France. Orlando appeared in October of the same year . The main character Orlando lives from the 16th to the 20th century, changes gender from man to woman in adulthood and is a poet at the end of the journey through time. This humorous novel is considered Virginia's declaration of love to Vita Sackville-West, whose personality is reflected in Orlando . Virginia took historical details from Vita's book Knole and the Sackvilles , published in 1922, which describes Vita's birthplace, the Knole House in Kent and the history of the Sackvilles. Virginia herself describes the book as cheerful and easy to read; To write it was a vacation for her as a writer and did not cause her the trouble of other works. In Nigel Nicolson's biography of his parents, he describes Orlando as "the longest and most charming love letter in literature". Knole House, in large part owned by the National Trust since 1946 , can currently admire the original Orlando manuscript on display in the Great Hall .

The essay A room to yourself

John Singer Sargent : Ethel Smyth , 1901

The essay A Room of One's Own ( A Room of One's Own , or a private room ) was published in October 1929th The clever and humorous treatise on the oppressive conditions under which women had to produce literature in the past, and in which Woolf describes Shakespeare's fictional poet sister Judith, became one of the most cited texts in the women's movement:

“[...] And if each of us has five hundred [pounds] a year and a room to himself; when we are used to the freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; […] Then this opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare's sister will take on the body that she so often shed. "These are the basic material requirements under which women can produce literature just as successfully as men. In it she also formulated some views on artistic creativity that guided her own writing. The book was a success; 22,000 copies were sold in England and America within six months.

In January 1930, on the occasion of the publication of A Room of One's Own, the composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth asked for Virginia's participation in a BBC show entitled Point of Views and declared her admiration for the essay as an important contribution to the emancipation movement. There was a personal relationship and extensive correspondence with Ethel Smyth, who was 24 years her senior. At this time, Vita Sackville-West moved to Sissinghurst and devoted herself to the design of their later world-famous garden with her husband Harold Nicolson.

The waves and flush

1931 appeared The Waves ( Waves ) which, according to Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse the third and last of their so-called experimental novels forms. Virginia had designed The Waves at the same time as the novel Zum Leuchtturm and wrote it in parallel, interrupted by the writing of Orlando . The work on it turned into an almost unbearable exertion, which was very bad for her health. Using an assembly technique, the book spans six human lives, from childhood to old age, inserted into the course of a beautiful summer day. In contrast to the critics, the reading public accepted Die Wellen unreservedly, and after a month the second edition could already be printed.

The 1932 biography Flush , which tells of the adventures of the Cocker Spaniel by writer Elizabeth Barrett Browning in London and Florence, is a mixture of some facts and a lot of imagination. Flush had the largest first edition of all of her works, reaching a circulation of 50,000 each in England and the United States after a few months .

Freshwater , The Years and Three Guineas

Julia Margaret Cameron's 1867 photo portrait of her niece Julia Jackson, mother of Virginia Woolf

In 1935, Virginia's only play Freshwater was staged in Vanessa Bell's London studio. In it she discussed the life story of her great aunt, the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron . The performance took place in front of friends: Vanessa Bell played Mrs. Cameron, Leonard Woolf played Mr. Cameron, and Duncan Grant played George Frederic Watts . Vanessa's children Julian and Angelica Bell were Lord Tennyson and Ellen Terry, respectively .

Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight

The place Freshwater is on the Isle of Wight , in which the Camerons had a residence. As early as 1926 Virginia and Roger Fry had published a collection of Cameron's photographs with the publishing house Harcourt, Brace, New York, under the title: Julia Margaret Cameron. Victorian Photographs of Famous Men & Fair Women . The Woolf couple spent the rest of the year on a European trip to cure Virginia of her recurrent mental illness.

Virginia's next novel - her most extensive work - The Years ( The year ) , the story of the officer's family Pargiter and their curricula vitae, four daughters, appeared in 1937; she had already started work on it in October 1932 under the working title The Pargiters . In the uncomplicated narrative style, she returned to the tradition of English novels, which she had not used for night and day . She found it difficult to write and the pressure to publish it. However, the years became a sales success; the English edition had a print run of 18,000, and in America it became a bestseller with 50,000 copies sold in the first year.

The collected Virginia analytical material about misogyny of society flowed not only in The Years one but was also found in the feminist essay Three Guineas ( Three Guineas ) again, which appeared in June 1938th In this essay, shortly before the Second World War, she connects the patriarchal form of society with militarism , fascism and war. The working title for the 1935 planned essay was On Being Despised (If one is despised) . Virginia didn't want women to be integrated, but rather gender equality : "We stand for the rights of all - of all men and women - to respect the great principles of justice, equality and freedom in their person". Her friends found the essay unnecessarily polemical because of its lack of humor, but it should mark another milestone in the fight against sexism . She turned down an honorary doctorate from the University of Liverpool in 1939 because she was critical of the “academic machine” throughout her life.

The writer John Lehmann , editor of the Hogarth Press from 1931 to September 1932, bought into the publishing house in March 1938 and took over Virginia's shares. However, she continued to work on the publishing house's programming. Lehmann worked with Leonard Woolf as managing director at Hogarth Press until 1946. He then founded his own publishing house, "John Lehmann Limited", together with his sister Rosamond .

World War II and death

After the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, the Woolfs decided to live in Monk's House and only go to the publishing house in London twice a month. In September 1940, the house at 37 Mecklenburgh Square , which had been her London apartment since 1939 and which also housed the Hogarth Press, was badly damaged by bombs in an air raid by the German Air Force. The Hogarth Press had to be relocated to Letchworth Garden City .

Virginia Woolf's suicide note to her husband Leonard

In May 1940, after Germany's invasion of the Netherlands and Belgium, the Woolfs resolved to die together in the event of a German invasion of Great Britain, as Leonard Woolf was a Jew and a socialist. They bought poison as a precaution and hoarded gasoline in the garage.

On July 25, 1940, Virginia Woolf's biography appeared about the painter and gallery owner Roger Fry, who had died in 1934 and who was a friend from the Bloomsbury period. After 1941 her last novel Between the acts ( between the filing ) had finished, she fell into a deep again Depression . She feared repeating the psychotic episodes of the past, where she heard voices and was unable to work and read. On March 27, 1941, Leonard Woolf took his wife to a doctor friend in Brighton to discuss treatment options. A day later, on March 28, Virginia chose the River Ouse at Rodmell near Lewes to suicide . Since she could swim very well, she put a large stone in her coat to prevent any possible self-rescue. Her body was only found three weeks later, on April 18. She left two farewell letters, one to her sister Vanessa and one to her husband. This began with the sentence:

"Dearest, I can feel for sure that I'm going crazy again."

The conclusion was:

“Everything, except the certainty of your kindness, has left me. I can no longer ruin your life. I don't think two people could have been happier than we were. "

Leonard Woolf buried her ashes under the two large elms in the garden, the branches of which were entwined and which they called Leonard and Virginia . He also had a plaque put up with a quote from The Waves :

"I want to throw myself against you, undefeated and unbowed, O death!"

Leonard Woolf died in 1969 at the age of 88. Like his wife, he was buried under the elms at Monk's House.

In the garden of Monk's House, which has been administered by the National Trust since 1980 , busts of Virginia Woolf and Leonard Woolf as well as plaques commemorate the extraordinary writer and publisher couple.

Leonard Woolf's bust of Charlotte Hewer
Monk's House: garden situation with the wall marked by busts and plaques of the Woolfs
Virginia Woolf's bust of Stephen Tomlin

To the work

Virginia Woolf is one of the most important authors of modern English narrative literature alongside Joseph Conrad , James Joyce and DH Lawrence . Her prose work seeks above all to capture the background and realities in the consciousness of her novel characters with new literary creative means. In addition to her numerous essays , the experimental and psychological novel is the author's main work. Woolf uses a montage technique : She lets past and present events in a stream of sensations in her texts in the constant alternation of external and internal time, environment and nature flow in.

The experimental novel

With Jacobs Zimmer , which is seen by Woolf interpreters as the author's first “actual” experimental novel, she begins to depict the complexity of life in a rhythmic sequence of fleeting sensory impressions, scraps of thought and gestures. Just like her contemporaries Joyce and Dorothy Richardson , who followed similar approaches, with the help of the inner monologue she succeeds in depicting these impressions as they appear in the stream of consciousness of the characters in the novel. However, there is no development: The characters remain caught in the search for identity between reality and dream world. Thus the isolation of humans in modern mass society becomes an essential topic of the Woolf novel.

Inspired by Joyce Woolf achieved a tension ( Suspense ) by their own point of view facing them the associations of her characters as a "counterpoint". This is particularly evident in the expressionistic imagery that she uses for describing landscapes and that stand in contrast to the pointed character studies of the cool, often soulless city dwellers. Woolf makes use of stylistic devices that are similar to writing, which were used in the visual arts by the post-impressionists and are particularly evident in the works of Vincent van Gogh , whom she was particularly admirable of.

In Mrs. Dalloway she refined the storytelling technique she had learned in Jacob's room . The novel is considered a masterpiece of modern storytelling and is often compared to Joyce ' Ulysses and Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time . In this work, Woolf primarily makes use of the latest findings from psychoanalysis and ironically refers to Freud's levels of consciousness. In the run-up to the novel, she had announced in her 1924 essay, Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown , that it was not the role of a novelist to “preach teachings, sing songs, or glorify the British Empire”, but “explore the psyche of mankind ". The essay, which received much attention from critics, was directed provocatively against the " Edwardian techniques" of Bennett , Galsworthy and Wells, which they saw as traditional .

In Mrs. Dalloway she expanded the technique of the stream of consciousness introduced in Jacobs Zimmer to include the component of "arbitrariness": The main character can no longer be described objectively as in the traditional novel, but is only defined by the reflection of the (changing) secondary characters and their perception . The reader only learns the plot through the awareness of the actors. Like Joyce, Woolf limits perception to a certain period of time, in the case of Mrs. Dalloway to a day, whereby Woolf introduces another stylistic device characteristic of her work: the continuous motif of the passing of time, which in a wave-like course of the stream of consciousness - between Present and past alternating - is experienced. In terms of style, Woolf proceeds with the narrative and alternates fluently between direct speech with descriptive action and the experienced speech in the inner monologue. In Mrs Dalloway , Woolf uses tempus fugit motifs (burned candles or striking clocks), a significant symbolism that is said to be repeated increasingly in her later work. To the Lighthouse ( to the lighthouse ) performs this psychological narrative art in linguistic perfection consistently continued: It makes use of a number of syntactically complex (im) possibilities, which create the impression of an objective reality disappear and expression for the "tails and games of consciousness" the author or changing, partly nameless subjects whose consciousness tends to flow together. The main character is thus reflected in the stream of consciousness of the other characters. A traditional action is dispensed with, the time continuum is divided into three parts (“time stratification”). The lighthouse itself becomes an ambiguous symbol that can be interpreted as an equalizing "male" superego with groundbreaking constancy or as a place of fixed norms and values ​​and stands in contrast to the constantly changing, "female" sea, which is a balancing elemental force for both can stand for the subconscious flow of things as well as for harmony, withdrawal and a new beginning. Woolf continually juxtaposes these two characters in the course of the work and brings them together in the final sequence of the novel, in the painting by the painter Lily Briscoe. The novel is considered one of the "compositionally and linguistically most successful achievements of Virginia Woolf."

The most radical rupture with all traditional narrative technique takes Woolf finally in The Waves ( Waves ) : The writer omitted both a reporting narrator as a tangible act or a particular venue and subjects the course of a specified symbol afflicted cycle of day and year. The work consists exclusively of the inner monologues of the six protagonists, who in turn represent or reflect certain characteristics of a phase of life. The book was rated by critics as an "artificial and unsatisfactory form and style experiment" and was only recognized late as the logical conclusion of Woolf's narrative experiment. The novel The Waves is in many ways more philosophical than its reading public has perceived, and Virginia Woolf has often spoken out in despair about it.

In her last novel Between the acts ( between acts ) , which was created against the backdrop of World War II, Woolf is a comic and critical analogy to the animal kingdom ago: by the actors in a village theater performance with carnivalesque provides -animalischen traits, it raises the question looks for the ancestry, the similarities and the differences between humans and animals and looks for the answer in creativity and language skills. She holds up a mirror to the reader with the central question of humanity and thus leaves the answer open. In doing so, she uses the trick of reflection again: the actual action takes place “between the files” or “between the lines”. Again the action takes place in one day, and again it makes use of symbolism: this time preferably the bird motif. The bird symbolizes both beauty and destruction. The posthumously published work combines prose with poetry and dialogue and shows Woolf's continued drive to expand the scope of the novel.

The essays

In her ironic, often critical essays, Virginia Woolf preferred to deal with writers such as Jane Austen , George Eliot and Dorothy Wordsworth . Jane Austen in particular, with whose work her own has often been compared, fascinated Woolf, as Austen's biography, which was initially less carefree, bears similarities to her own. Both works were created at the end of a literary epoch and should mark a new one. Austen died early, at the height of her work: For Woolf, who doubted herself, Austen's short, completed life's work embodied in its formal perfection a self-determined innocence that her own work (and life) did not have. In 1925 she dedicated a chapter to Jane Austen in her collection of essays The Common Reader and paid tribute to her in sentimental terms as "The most perfect artist among women, the writer whose books are immortal, died just as she was beginning to feel confidence in her own success." ("The perfect artist among women, the writer whose books are immortal, died just as she was beginning to gain confidence in her own success.")

The essay Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown , written in 1924, is one of the writer's most revealing essays among Woolf's critics , as it not only breaks with the traditionalists of English literature - above all Arnold Bennett is caught in the crossfire of their criticism - but also provides insights into them Character design and in the author's handling of identities granted: The fictional Mrs Brown as Woolf's alter ego represents the point of view of her creator, but as a person who can only be perceived reflexively remains puzzling. Woolf does not give her Mrs. Brown any particular trait: she remains "arbitrary" like many other characters in her work. With this, Woolf denies the "real characters" of the Edwardians . Martin Walser calls these figures “Woolf's everyday life shells, which one cannot get hold of, at best one can approach them” and refers to the multiple design of the Orlando .

Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown reflected on the impressive first post-impressionist exhibition Manet and the Post-Impressionists by Roger Fry in the London “Grafton Galleries” at the end of 1910, which became a cultural event. With this event, Woolf dated a cultural paradigm shift : “On or about December 1910 human character changed,” she wrote in the essay and transferred the dawn of painting into modernity to literature: the epochal replacement of the Edwardians by the Bloomsberries and the avant-garde Vortizists to Ezra Pound .

The most cited text of the new women's movement , Woolf 's 1929 essay A Room of One's Own , was only translated into German in 1978. Woolf already anticipated the thesis of the 1968 movement on the political character of the private.

Diaries and letters

Virginia Woolf had kept a systematic diary since she was a child and from 1915 onwards . Parts of it were published for the first time in 1953. From 1977 to 1984 all records were published in five volumes. Her extensive correspondence was also published, six volumes appeared between 1975 and 1980. Diaries and letters are now available in German translation. Many readers consider this legacy to be at least as important as the works published during their lifetime. They show that Virginia suffered from depression while she was writing her texts, for example while working on Mrs. Dalloway : “[…] And then, the more the manuscript grows, the old fear of it again. I will read it & find it pale. […] But if this book proves something, it is that I can only write in this way & and will always stick to it, but continue to explore & thank God I won't be bored for a moment. But this slight depression - where does it come from? ”She showed a similarly weak self-confidence when her books were published. The fear of negative criticism and uncertainty about her own work often triggered flare-ups.


"It is writing, that gives me my proportion."

- Virginia Woolf in her diary of March 28, 1929

Virginia Woolf's work was hardly known beyond the circle of writers of the English-speaking cultural area during her lifetime. Since the 1970s it has increasingly inspired various social and emancipatory movements in Europe and the USA; as a result, the literary work and its author gained increasing public interest.

Effects during lifetime

Eliot and Woolf. Photo by Ottoline Morrell , 1924.

In her native country, Virginia Woolf, the daughter of a well-known cleric and literary figure, came into the focus of the English press early on because of the scandalous dreadnought prank ; At the latest from her debut novel, her own essay-like reviews and through Hogarth Press publications by writer friends, such as TS Eliot's Poems (1919), she was recognized as an author and publisher by a larger readership.

Outside of the English-speaking culture, however, Virginia Woolf's work remained largely unknown or at least difficult to access. In 1929, Klaus Mann reviewed the German edition of Mrs Dalloway , published under the title “A Woman of Fifty Years” , and rated the novel as a “true-to-life work” and “the most radical 20th century”.

The writer Elio Vittorini , a literary representative of Italian neorealism , received Woolf's Mrs Dalloway in his collection of short stories Piccola borghesia , published in 1931, and transferred her descriptions of the English upper middle class to the Neapolitan petty bourgeoisie , the so-called " petty bourgeoisie ".

Perception through emancipatory movements

Portrait of Virginia Woolf as street art in São Paulo , Brazil (2007)

In search of a literary justification for their natural striving for (mostly sexual) liberation, niche cultures and free thinkers such as followers of Neopaganism or hippies in the Anglo-American region often tried arbitrary set pieces from Woolf's writings. Among other things, they referred to Woolf's acquaintance with Rupert Brooke or reflected on the general informality of the Bloomsbury Group, which had anticipated the open sexuality of the " polyamory " proclaimed in the 1960s .

Virginia Woolf became the author of the lesbian and gay movement and the later LGBT activists because of her carefully designed androgynous female characters with their multifaceted psychology, the playful change of (gender) identities in Mrs Dalloway , Orlando and The Waves, and the detached sexuality of the author stylized as a literary leading figure and the authority of “female writing”, although Woolf cannot be classified in any general gender-specific position. As the main female character of "Bloomsbury" and their protest of the "Victorians against Victorianism", she shaped the image of emancipation .

In the canon of the modern Anglo-American university novel after 1945, an increased interest in the avant-garde psychological narrative of Woolf's work and its socio-critical and linguistic content developed. This interest spread from the 1970s onwards through isolated intellectual papers, seminars and scientific symposia and is now manifested in the founding of the International Virginia Woolf Society in Toronto as a coordinating English-speaking network. Supported by the Modern Language Association , current research results on the multi-layered life and work of the writer and her influence on modern language are collated and examined.

Effects in the German-speaking area

Christiaan Tonnis : Virginia Woolf , 1998

In the German-speaking countries of the post-war period, Virginia Woolf's work was initially only known to a "literary elite" and was only noticed by parts of the women's movement in the 1970s and 1980s, whereupon the "identification with weakness [...] as the main theme of Woolf's reception" by parts The motto of the women's movement, "reducing women to being victims", was declared as the motto of Ingrid Strobl in Emma 1980. In the same essay she made a deliberately exaggerated comparison with the younger American writer colleague Sylvia Plath , who also committed suicide and had to fail because of the role of “female genius”: “[...] under the cursed burden of being brilliant, it had to tender woman collapse, the dear poor sister Plath already had the same experience, how could it be otherwise - it is not the nature of women to step out of line, to achieve great things - how manly! "


From 1975 to 1980, Nigel Nicolson published letters from Virginia Woolf at Hogarth Press, the subjective selection of which is opposed to a biographically authentic context, with Nicolson in his biography Virginia Woolf , published in 2000, in addition to her description of the work and important role in the women's movement, her latent anti-Semitism and xenophobia not left out.

Dora Carrington : Portrait E. M. Forster , 1924/25

In her diaries Virginia occasionally referred to her husband's unloved family as "the Jews", at table she sometimes asked: "Give the Jew his food", referring to her husband Leonard. The English professor Hermione Lee reports in her profound biography, published in 1996, that anti-Semitism was widespread in the English upper class until the 1930s, and she quotes Virginia Woolf's regret about her behavior towards Leonard and his family in a letter to her friend Ethel Smyth of August 2, 1930: "How I hated marrying a Jew [...] - I was such a snob !"

EM Forster , temporarily a Bloomsbury member himself, was ambivalent about the influence of the women's movement on Virginia Woolf's work. In a lecture, the Rede Lecture of 1941 at the University of Cambridge , he praised the women's movement-inspired “ravishing brilliance” of A Room of One's Own , but criticized “that the women's movement is also to blame for the most miserable of their books - the one contentious 'Three Guineas' - and the reason for a number of less good passages in 'Orlando'. ”In addition, Forster assumed a stereotypical view of the writer :“ She was convinced that society was made for men, that the main occupation of men consists in shedding blood, making money, issuing orders and wearing uniforms, and that none of these pursuits are admirable. "


Dinner party : table runners and place settings for Virginia Woolf
Bust in Tavistock Square , London 2004. (Cast after Stephen Tomlin's bust from 1931)
Bronze plaque on the "Library Way" in New York
Life-size wax sculpture by Woolf in King's College

Woolf found its way into the visual arts of the 20th century. The feminist artist Judy Chicago dedicated one of the 39 place settings at the table to her in her work The Dinner Party . See also the article List of the 999 women of the Heritage Floor .

The Indian author and translator Ruth Vanita presents Virginia Woolf in her study Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same - Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination (Between Men - Between Women - Lesbian and Gay Studies) as a “ Sapphic author in dialogue with her contemporaries Ancestors ".

On Virginia Woolf's 125th birthday, Fischer Verlag published a comprehensive selection of her letters, which, as Eva Menasse reviewed at the time , reflected a “Virginia Woolf without fetters”, in whose letters “[…] nothing of her torment is to be felt Writing the novels that were often journeys to the limits of their mental health. ”In addition, Die Zeit noted their pointed letters as“ satirical miniatures ”that show both the entertaining, humorous side of Virginia Woolf as a contrast to their“ intellectual discourses ”as also their tendency to please with gossip, or to want to amuse them.

In New York, the "Library Way" has been leading to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building , the largest building in the New York Public Library (NYPL) , on East 41st Street between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue since the late 1990s . 96 rectangular bronze plaques are embedded in the paving of the pedestrian path, which are dedicated to important writers and which contain quotations from their works. Virginia Woolf is represented with a plaque and a quote from the essay The Leaning Tower : "If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people."

On May 2, 2013, King's College London announced that a new college building would be named Virginia Woolf Building in the fall .

An exhibition with exhibits on Woolf's life and work ran in London's National Portrait Gallery from July 10 to October 26, 2014 under the title "Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision."

In 2015, 82 international literary critics and scholars selected four of their novels as one of the 100 most important British novels . To the Lighthouse ( the Lighthouse ) ranked No. 2, Mrs Dalloway Platz 3, The Waves ( The waves ) 16th and Orlando place 65. George Eliot's Middlemarch leads the list.

Play and Film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ( Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ) Premiered on October 13, 1962 at the Billy Rose Theater in New York . The idea for this came to Albee around 1953 or 1954, according to a series of graffiti in the washroom of a bar: “One night I was there for a beer and I saw“ Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ”Smeared on a mirror, probably with Soap. When I started writing the piece, I couldn't get this line out of my mind. And of course “Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf” means the (children's song) “Who's afraid of the big bad wolf” ... Who is afraid of a life without false illusions. And I thought it was a pretty university-type intellectual joke. "

An American film adaptation followed in 1966, directed by Mike Nichols . The main characters were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton .

Narrative work (selection)

Cover of the first edition of Orlando , Hogarth Press , 1928

Letters, diaries

  • Moments of Being . Unpublished Autobiographical Writings. Edited by Jeanne Schulkind, Brighton 1976; German moments. (Sketches of the past) Sketched memories . Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1981 and Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt, ISBN 3-596-25789-1 .
  • A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals 1897-1909 . Edited by Mitchell A. Leaska. Hogarth Press, London 1990
  • The Diary of Virginia Woolf . 5 volumes. Edited by Anne Olivier Bell. Hogarth Press, London 1977-1984
  • The Letters of Virginia Woolf . 6 volumes. Edited by Nigel Nicolson and Joanna Trautmann. Hogarth Press, London 1975-1980
  • Letters 1. 1888–1927 . Edited by Klaus Reichert and Brigitte Walitzek. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-10-092556-5 .
  • Letters 2. 1928–1941 . Edited by Klaus Reichert and Brigitte Walitzek. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-10-092564-0 .
  • Diaries, Volume 1. 1915–1919 . Edited by Klaus Reichert. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-10-092552-1 .
  • Diaries, Volume 2. 1920–1924 . Edited by Klaus Reichert. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-10-092555-6 .
  • Diaries, Volume 3. 1925–1930 . Edited by Klaus Reichert. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-10-092559-9 .
  • Diaries, Volume 4. 1931-1935 . Edited by Klaus Reichert. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-10-092562-9 .
  • Diaries, Volume 5. 1936–1941 . Edited by Klaus Reichert, Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-10-092566-4 .
  • Moments of existence. Autobiographical sketches . Translated by Brigitte Walitzek, ed. by Klaus Reichert, S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-10-092522-0 .
  • Letter to a young poet. Translated by Tanja Handels. Steidl Verlag (LSD), Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-86930-947-7 .

Virginia Woolf wrote about 500 other essays, reviews, and prose sketches.

When choosing the German reading material, it should be noted that Virginia Woolf's works have been offered in new translations since 1989. They were edited and (re) commented on by Klaus Reichert.

Secondary literature

German literature and translations from English:

  • Susanne Amrain : So secret and familiar. Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-518-39311-1 .
  • Ingeborg Badenhausen: The language of Virginia Woolfs: A contribution to the style of the modern English novel. Dissertation, Marburg 1932
  • Quentin Bell : Virginia Woolf. A biography . Suhrkamp Verlag , Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-518-37253-X .
  • Luise Berg-Ehlers: The gardens of the Virginia Woolf . Nicolai Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-87584-378-9 .
  • Louise DeSalvo: Virginia Woolf. The effects of sexual abuse on their life and work . Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-596-10566-8 .
  • Alexandra Harris: Virginia Woolf. from the English by Tanja Handels and Ursula Wulfekamp. LSD in Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-86930-835-7 .
  • Jürgen Klein : Virginia Woolf: Genie - Tragik - Emanzipation , Heyne Verlag, Munich 1984, 2nd edition 1992, ISBN 3-453-55115-X .
  • Hermione Lee : Virginia Woolf. One life . German by Holger Fliessbach. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999. As paperback 2006: ISBN 3-596-17374-4 .
  • Nigel Nicolson : Portrait of a Marriage. Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. Ullstein Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-548-30387-0 .
  • Nigel Nicolson: Virginia Woolf . Claassen Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-546-00293-8 .
  • Frances Spalding: Virginia Woolf. Life, Art & Visions ; Original title: Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision . Translated from the English by Ursula Wulfekamp with the assistance of Matthias Wolf. Sieveking, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-944874-46-3 .
  • George Spater & Ian Parsons. Portrait of an unusual marriage. Virginia & Leonard Woolf [= A marriage of true minds ]. Translated from the English by Barbara Scriba-Sethe. Foreword by Quentin Bell. Revised new edition. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-596-13445-5 . The original English edition was published in 1977 by Jonathan Cape Ltd./The Hogarth Press, London. George Spater cataloged the Woolf Archives. Ian Parsons was Leonard Woolf's friend and business partner after the Hogarth Press merged with Chatto & Windus
  • Ursula Voss: Bertrand Russell and Lady Ottoline Morrell. A love against philosophy . Rowohlt • Berlin Verlag, Reinbek 1999, ISBN 3-87134-310-2 .
  • Werner Waldmann: Virginia Woolf: with self-testimonials and photo documents. Rowohlt, Reinbek, 12th edition 2006, ISBN 3-499-50323-9 .
  • Helmut Winter: Virginia and Leonard Woolf . Rowohlt • Berlin Verlag, Berlin, 1999, ISBN 3-87134-352-8 .
  • Leonard Woolf : My life with Virginia. Memories . Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-25686-0 .
  • Caroline Zoob: The Virginia Woolf's garden : source of inspiration for a committed writer [= Virginia Woolf's Garden. Country Planting at a Writer's Retreat ], photographs by Caroline Arber, foreword by Cecil Woolf, translated by Claudia Arlinghaus. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-421-03937-8 .

Fiction :

English literature:

  • Thomas C. Caramagno: The Flight of the Mind: Virginia Woolf's Art and Manic-depressive Illness . University of California Press; New Ed edition, Ewing, NJ 1996, ISBN 0-520-20504-9 .
  • Anthony Curtis: Virginia Woolf: Bloomsbury and beyond. London: House Books, 2006, ISBN 1-904950-23-X .
  • Ralph Freedman (Ed.): Virginia Woolf: Revaluation and Continuity. University of California Press, Berkeley 2020, ISBN 978-0-520-30282-2 .
  • Gillian Gill: Virginia Woolf: And the Women Who Shaped Her World. Boston, New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2019, ISBN 978-1-328-68395-3 .
  • Jane Goldman: The Feminist Aesthetics of Virginia Woolf: Modernism, Post-Impressionism and the Politics of the Visual . Cambridge University Press, 2001 reissue, ISBN 0-521-79458-7 .
  • Stefanie Heine: Visible Words and Chromatic Pulse. Virginia Woolf's Writing, Impressionist Painting, Maurice Blanchot's Image . Turia + Kant, Vienna / Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-85132-742-7 .
  • Jean Moorcroft Wilson: Virginia Woolf and Anti-Semitism. Cecil Woolf, London 1995, ISBN 1-897967-40-3 .
  • Kay Redfield Jamison: Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and The Artistic Temperament . The Free Press, New York 1993, ISBN 0-02-916030-8 .
  • Susan Sellers: Vanessa and Virginia . [Fictional Biography]. Two Ravens, 2008; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston 2009, ISBN 978-0-15-101474-3 .
  • NC Thakur: The Symbolism of Virginia Woolf . Oxford University Press, London 1965

This book served as the template for the film The Hours :

  • Michael Cunningham: The hours . btb Verlag 2001, ISBN 3-442-72629-8 . Three seemingly independent storylines show Virginia Woolf in the 1920s, Laura Brown in California in the 1950s and Clarissa Vaughan in New York in the 1990s. They are linked through the figure of Mrs. Dalloway created by Virginia Woolf.

Film adaptations

Readings / audio books

Radio play adaptations

Web links

Commons : Virginia Woolf  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 237.
  2. Clues to Early Sexual Abuse in Literature by Lenore C. Terr, MD
  3. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 215.
  4. Kay Redfield Jamison: Touched with Fire - Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. Simon & Schuster 1993, pp. 224-228, pp. 235-236.
  5. Thomas Caramagno: The Flight of the Mind - Virginia Woolfs Art and Manic-Depressive Illness. (No longer available online.) University of California Press, Berkeley, 1992, archived from the original April 17, 2003 ; Retrieved October 8, 2012 .
  6. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 106.
  7. A Sketch of the Past (new: Sketched Memories). In: moments. Stuttgart 1981, p. 150.
  8. Thomas Millie Dow ,
  9. Ursula Voss: Bertrand Russell and Ottoline Morrell. A love against philosophy. P. 166.
  10. Caroline Emelia Stephen. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on December 26, 2008 ; Retrieved December 17, 2009 .
  11. The Dreadnought Hoax
  12. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 376 ff.
  13. Werner Waldmann: Virginia Woolf. Reinbek 2006, p. 63.
  14. Werner Waldmann: Virginia Woolf. Reinbek 2006, p. 71.
  15. Helmut Winter: Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Berlin 1999, p. 61 f.
  16. Omega Lives: The Omega Workshops & the Hogarth Press ( Memento from June 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 2.3 MB),, accessed on December 12, 2011.
  17. Werner Waldmann: Virginia Woolf. Reinbek 2006, p. 82 f.
  18. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. A life p. 512.
  19. a b Steve King: Eliot and the Woolfs . (accessed January 6, 2008)
  20. Georde Spater, Ion Parsons: Portrait of an Unusual Marriage. Frankfurt am Main 2002, p. 158 f.
  21. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 513.
  22. Nigel Nicolson: Vita, Virginia and Vanessa. In: Christiane Frick-Gerke (ed.): Inspiration Bloomsbury. The Virginia Woolf Circle . Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2003, pp. 165-173.
  23. Virginia Woolf to Jacques Raverat, December 26, 1924.
  24. Quentin Bell: Virginia Woolf. A biography . The Hogarth Press, London 1972, two volume English edition, Volume 2, p. 117.
  25. George Spater, Ian Parsons: Portrait of an Unusual Marriage. Frankfurt am Main 2002, p. 205 f.
  26. Diary, March 21, 1927, 3
  27. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 630.
  28. Nigel Nicolson: Portrait of a marriage. Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West .
  29. ^ Vita Sackville West and Knole ,
  30. A room to yourself. P. 130.
  31. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 758 ff.
  32. Spater / Parsons: Portrait of an Unusual Marriage. P. 218 ff.
  33. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 830.
  34. Woolf, Three Guineas. P. 158.
  35. Quentin Bell: Virginia Woolf. P. 504 f.
  36. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 993.
  37. Wilfried Dittmar in Major Works of English Literature - Individual Representations and Interpretations . Kindler, Munich 1975, p. 456.
  38. Wilfried F. Schoeller in Major Works of English Literature - Individual Representations and Interpretations. P. 458 f.
  39. Erich Auerbach : Mimesis. (1946) 10th edition, Tübingen, Basel 2001, p. 498 f.
  40. Walter Kluge in Major Works in English Literature - Individual Representations and Interpretations. P. 461.
  41. Walter Kluge in Major Works in English Literature - Individual Representations and Interpretations. P. 467.
  42. Christopher Ames: Carnivalesque comedy in 'Between the Acts.' - novel by woman author Virginia Woolf ( Memento of July 8, 2012 in the web archive ). (accessed February 12, 2008)
  43. Sabine Menninghaus: Concepts of artistic transformation: Scientific analogies in Aldous Huxley , James Joyce and Virginia Woolf . Münster 2000, p. 31 ff.
  44. Virginia Woolf . University of Duisburg-Essen (accessed January 2, 2008)
  45. ^ Virginia Woolf: The Common Reader. The first series - Chapter 12: Jane Austen . E-Book , University of Adelaide (accessed January 3, 2008)
  46. Martin Walser: Identity and Writing: A Festschrift for Martin Walser - Lecture series at the University of Hildesheim in the winter semester 1996/97 ; Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim 1997, ISBN 3-487-10322-2 , p. 74 ff.
  47. ^ "Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown" in Collected Essays , Volume 1, London 1968, p. 320.
  48. Hanno Ehrlicher: The art of destruction: fantasies of violence and manifestation practices of European avant-garde. FU Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-05-003646-X , p. 252.
  49. Diary entry of August 2, 1924. In: Virginia Woolf. The reading book. P. 428 f.
  50. a b Tanja Langer: The narrative prose is a lady . In: The world . November 20, 1999 (accessed November 18, 2008)
  51. Master of Prose in Italy . University of Hull Archives : Reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, April 10, 1932.
  52. ^ William Pryor: The Living Memes and Jeans of Bloomsbury and Neo-Paganism . International Virginia Woolf Conference at Smith College , Massachusetts , USA, 2003 (accessed January 4, 2008)
  53. Virginia Woolf . In: Fyne Times Gay and Lesbian Magazine, UK
  54. Jutta Duhm-Heitzmann: Ecstasy! Where is the post office? . In: The time. No. 18/1991 (accessed January 4, 2008)
  55. ^ The International Virginia Woolf Society
  56. Ingrid Strobl: Virginia Woolf - Not just the beautiful picture . ( Memento of August 23, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) In: Emma. January 1980 (accessed October 8, 2012)
  57. Nigel Nicolson, Joanne Trautmann: The Letters of Virginia Woolf I – VI . Hogarth Press 1975-1980
  58. John Gross: “Mr. Virginia Woolf ” . (Review)
  59. Hermione Lee: Virginia Woolf. One life. P. 414.
  60. Werner Waldmann: Virginia Woolf. P. 139.
  61. Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party. Place Setting: Virginia Woolf. Brooklyn Museum, April 13, 2007, accessed April 25, 2014 .
  62. Ruth Vanita: Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same-Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination (Between Men-Between Women - Lesbian and Gay Studies) . Columbia University Press, New York 1997, ISBN 0-231-10550-9 .
  63. Eva Menasse: On the umbilical cord . In: The time. No. 40/2006, September 28, 2006 (accessed January 4, 2008)
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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on April 5, 2008 in this version .