Virginia Woolf
(1882-1941)

Died aged 59

Adeline Virginia Woolf (/wʊlf/; née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device. Woolf was born into an affluent household in South Kensington, London, the seventh child in a blended family of eight which included the modernist painter Vanessa Bell. Her mother was Julia Prinsep Jackson and her father Leslie Stephen. While the boys in the family received college educations, the girls were home-schooled in English classics and Victorian literature. An important influence in Virginia Woolf's early life was the summer home the family used in St Ives, Cornwall, where she first saw the Godrevy Lighthouse, which was to become central to her novel To the Lighthouse (1927). Woolf's childhood came to an abrupt end in 1895 with the death of her mother and her first mental breakdown, followed two years later by the death of her half-sister and a mother figure to her, Stella Duckworth. From 1897 to 1901, she attended the Ladies' Department of King's College London, where she studied classics and history and came into contact with early reformers of women's higher education and the women's rights movement. Other important influences were her Cambridge-educated brothers and unfettered access to her father's vast library. Encouraged by her father, Woolf began writing professionally in 1900. Her father's death in 1904 caused Woolf to have another breakdown. Following his death, the Stephen family moved from Kensington to the more bohemian Bloomsbury, where they adopted a free-spirited lifestyle. It was in Bloomsbury where, in conjunction with the brothers' intellectual friends, they formed the artistic and literary Bloomsbury Group. In 1912, she married Leonard Woolf, and in 1917 the couple founded the Hogarth Press, which published much of her work. They rented a home in Sussex and moved there permanently in 1940. Woolf also had romantic relationships with women, including Vita Sackville-West, who also published her books through Hogarth Press. Both women's literature became inspired by their relationship, which lasted until Woolf's death. Throughout her life, Woolf was troubled by her mental illness. She was institutionalised several times and attempted suicide at least twice. Her illness may have been bipolar disorder, for which there was no effective intervention during her lifetime. In 1941, at age 59, Woolf died by drowning herself in the River Ouse at Lewes. During the interwar period, Woolf was an important part of London's literary and artistic society. In 1915 she published her first novel, The Voyage Out, through her half-brother's publishing house, Gerald Duckworth and Company. Her best-known works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928). She is also known for her essays, including A Room of One's Own (1929), in which she wrote the much-quoted dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf became one of the central subjects of the 1970s movement of feminist criticism and her works have since garnered much attention and widespread commentary for "inspiring feminism". Her works have been translated into more than 50 languages. A large body of literature is dedicated to her life and work, and she has been the subject of plays, novels and films. Woolf is commemorated today by statues, societies dedicated to her work and a building at the University of London.

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Family tree

member of Bloomsbury Group

Commemorated on 9 plaques

In this house Leonard and Virginia Woolf lived 1915-1924 and founded the Hogarth Press in 1917

Hogarth House, 34 Paradise Road, Richmond Upon Thames, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Virginia Stephen (Virginia Woolf) 1882-1941 novelist and critic lived here 1907-1911

29 Fitzroy Square, Camden, W1, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Here and in neighbouring houses during the first half of the 20th Century there lived several members of the Bloomsbury Group including Virginia Woolf Clive Bell and the Stracheys

Gordon Square, London, United Kingdom where they lived near

Beneath this tree are buried the ashes of Virginia Woolf born January 25 1882 died March 28 1941. "Death is the enemy. Against you I will fling myself unvanquished and unyielding. O Death." The waves broke on the shore

Monk's House, Rodmell, United Kingdom where they lived and was buried (1941)

Virginia Stephen Virginia Woolf 1882-1941 Novelist and Critic born and lived here until 1904

22 Hyde Park Gate, London, United Kingdom where they was

"We've bought a house in Lewes, on the spur of the moment. It's the butt end of an old windmill, so that all the rooms are either completely round or semi circular. Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Bloomsbury writers, purchased this house in June 1919

Pipe Passage, Lewes, United Kingdom where they owned

Bloomsbury Group Members Virgina Woolf Duncan Grant Adrian Stephen Leonard Woolf & John Maynard Kenyes lived in a house on this site 1911-1912 UCL School of Pharmacy

38 Brunswick Square, London, United Kingdom where they was

Virginia Woolf 1882-1941 Leonard Woolf 1880-1969 Writers and Publishers Lived at No. 52 a house on this site 1924-1939

52 Tavistock Square (now Tavistock Hotel), London, United Kingdom where they was

Virginia Woolf 1882-1941 Novelist and Critic wrote in a shed just like this

RHS Chelsea, London, United Kingdom where they was