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Virginia Wolf

Virginia Woolf was a writer, psychopath and a family lover.
She was an English novelist and a proud feminist, and one of the modern trendsetting literate and theorists in her lifetime.

Virginia Adeline Woolf, also called Ginny, was born the 25 January in 1882 on Hyde Park Gate nr22 in South Kensington, London. It’s a great street filled with beautiful houses, and other well known authors like Charles Dickens, Robert Baden-Powell and Winston Churchill have also lived on the vary same street.
Virginia together with her father, 1902

Wirginia grew up with her family that consist’s of her parents and eight children. It was her father, sir Leslie Stephens who was born in 1832 and died 1904 and her mother Julia Stephens, born 1846-95. Her three real siblings, Vanessa 1879-1961, Adrian 1883-1948 and Thoby 1880-1906, and her half siblings, Laura 1870-1945, who was her father’s daughter with his first wife, and her mother’s three children from her first marriage, George 1833-70, Stella 1869-97 and Gerald 1870-1937.

Since both Virginia’s parents had been married before they became a couple, Wirginia, as I said, also had some half siblings. But they were never very close and it was the Stephen siblings who was going to stick together and moved to the Bloomberg neighbourhood together lather in their lives.

In 1895 when Virginia was only 13 years old her mother Julia past away, and Wirginia suffered her first mental breakdown. Her father, Leslie, took her death very hard as well and had it difficult to mourn his wife, and since they bough was agnostic, he couldn’t find any comfort from the church either. Leslie worked as a journalist and was the editor-in-chef for Dictionary of National Biography. It was probably he who inspired all his children to the writing they all loved so much.

Leslie died in cancer in February 1904 and it was by that time Virginia had her second breakdown, she was 22 years old then. Since Virginia’s father and mother died when Wirginia and her siblings was still very young, they four decided to move together to a new house in Bloomsbury at Gordon square.

The big house in Bloomsbury was placed at 46 Gordon Square. It was a four-storey house that Wirginia at first couldn’t get any peace in, she missed her old house too much. But after a while they all realised what a freedom they had and her sister Vanessa wrote:
“It was as I suddenly went out to the sunshine and left the darkness behind me”
Vanessa was going to become a successful artist later in her life.

The fine life they had lived in Kensington they could leave behind them, and finally, for the first time in their lives, they could eat and dress exactly when and how they wanted.
Virginia Woolf
All the four siblings were going to have a big role in the Bloomsbury group.
Virginia didn’t have any sort of education, like her siblings, other than the access to her father’s extensive library and the magazines and books she read for herself. But already from an early age she was determined to become a writer.

Her siblings on the other hand had educations. Vanessa was trained to be a painter and her to brothers were sent to preparatory and public schools, and after that to Cambridge. It was there Thoby made friends with Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Lytton Strachey and Maynard Keynes, who all was going to become members in the Bloomsbury Group.

At the end of the year 1904 Virginia revived a clerical paper called the Guardian and in 1905 she started writing in the Times Literary Supplement which was a journal she continued writing for in many years.

The Bloomsbury group starter was Thoby Stephens, Virginia’s two year older brother, who invited some friends over from Cambridge to discuss literature, art and philosophy. Together with his sister Vanessa they arranged two soirées each week, Thursday Evenings and Friday Club. The Bloomsbury group was a group of people just meeting for fun, but still they had a conception, mainly because of the series of genius’ who was going to affect both literature and art. They all meat and it all happened at the house of the Stephens siblings. The company at the sessions changed a little from time to time, but at the most soirées Lytton Strachey, 1880-1932, attended. He renew the English biography genre with he’s satirical books, for example the Eminent Victorians, there he wrote about the Victorianism and introduced a series of revealing portrait and secrets on for example Florence Nightingale.

In the group also Clive Bell, who became Vanessa’s husband, the artist Roger Fly, John Maynard Keynes and Leonard Woolf, the respected critic, publisher and also the man who became Virginia’s husband, attended. In 1906 the Bloomsbury group was struck by a tragedy.
Thoby Stephen, who was Virginia’s favourite brother and the creator of the group, passed away in typhoid after a trip to Greece, he was only 26 years old. But the soirées at Thursdays evenings continued without him.

The peoples in the Bloomsbury group were unprejudiced, bisexual and open relations was common and the members was among the first one in England to accept homosexuality. In the year 1911 the homosexual Lytton Strachey proposed to Virginia, and surprisingly for everyone her answer was yes, but after only 24 hour’s she changed her mind.

And the same year Virginia agreed to marry Leonard Woolf and in August 10, 1912 they married in St Pancras Registry Office. At that time they decided to earn money by writing and journalism, and since Virginia had been writing on her first novel The Voyage Out (Melymbrosia) since 1908, she finally finished it in 1013. But because of all the mental breakdowns after her marriage it was not published until 1915 by Duckworth & Co.
After her first book was published, she almost immediately started to write her second novel, Night and Day, which was published in 1919 by the same editors.

In 1917 the Woolfs bought a small printing-press to take up printing as a hobby and as therapy for Wirginia. They were now living in Richmond and the Hogarth Press was named after their house. Virginia wrote, printed and published some short stories like, The mark on the wall, and, Kew Gardens. They continued handprinting until 1932, but they were more publishers than printers. In 1922 the Hogarth Press became a business and from 1921 Virginia always published with the Press, except for a few limited editions.

Virginia had an undeserved rumour as a difficult and solemn writer. But you can often find a nice, quiet and sometimes ironic humour in her and in her most loved novel Orlando, 1928. The novel is a picaresque novel that in the beginning shows Orlando as a young, spiritual youth, in the time of the first Queen Elisabeth. Than later in the book Orlando appears to be a middle-age woman who drives around in her sport car between London city and the house of the family.

The book was dedicated to the writer Vita Sackville-West, whom was Wirginias mistress and one of her closest friends through her whole life. Vita deems to have been modelling for Orlando.

Because of Virginias physic and sexual problems any children was never mentioned in Virginias and Leonards relationship.
Virginias whole life was a mess with breakdowns and attempted suicides. Because of her huge inhuman demands on herself the writing became a terrible burden for her. Every book was a fight between life and death, and it was rarely she was proud of her work and she was very sensitive to all sort of criticism.

After her death her husband Leonard said that she always demand honest and frank criticism from him, but that he never dared to give her that and always exaggerated, because otherwise he was afraid she might have a breakdown and commit suicide. Under periods the breakdowns came closer. She talked incoherent and loud, and she also suffered by headache, sleeping problems and heard strange voices. For some periods she even refused to eat. Of curse, some times, Virginia’s breakdown was calmer, but they always came back, and then always worse than before.

1941 was the year Virginia Woolf couldn’t stand the breakdowns anymore and committed suicide. In the 25 January, on Virginias 59th birthday she was physical healthy, but she felted like she had lost her superpowers and for her it meant that the life wasn’t worth living any more.

Virginia Woolf was successful, she was tribute by all critics, worshiped by her readers and loved by her friends and most by her husband. But noting helped. Virginia was so afraid to become insane again and when she started to hear voices again she couldn’t take it. Around noon the 28 mars 1941 Virginia took her last walk from her house in Rodmell to the river Ouse. She filled her coat with Rocks and throws herself out in to the water.
Three weeks later some children find her by the bridge in Southeast.

In her last letter to her husband she wrote:
“I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came.”

Virginia Woolf was one of the modern trendsetting literature and theorists at her time and she had a big humour. She was an English novelist and a proud feminist.

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

Personal thoughts and reflections

I believe Virginia was a troubled person already from the start.
Because of all her breakdowns and her bad confidence she had it difficult through her entire life, and when all of her closest family member past away, it didn’t exactly helped her to get any better.

I think the years of the Bloomsbury group, was the healthiest years in her entire life. I believe her physical problems were kind of small at that time, and that she had more confident in herself back then.

And her bisexuality then, I actually believe she was bisexual. I think she had a love full relationship with Vita, but that they couldn’t became a couple because of all the prejudice in the world. She seems to have loved Leonard very much, but she never wanted a sexual relationship with him. And let’s face it, a relationship without any physical closeness is more like a sister and brother relationship. They were married, but I believe that they never war a true, real couple.

Virginia often wrote about love, friendship, happiness and success in her novels.
But since I haven’t read any of her work I can’t say what I think about them, but from what I now about the author, I believe they could be really interesting.

I think this easement was good. It was easy too understand all the items and you can make you work as serious as you want. I mean if you just want to pass the easement you know what you have too do that, and if you want to get better grades you know how to get that.
Emma Lundgren

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