Who was Virginia Woolf?
Virginia Woolf was a twentieth century novelist.
Date and Place of Birth:
25th January 1882, London, England.
Woolf was christened Adeline Virginia Stephen.
She was the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, writer and first editor
of the Dictionary of National Biography and Julia. Both parents
had been married before. Sir Leslie to one of William
Makepeace Thackeray's daughters. Both had children already.
Educated at home by her father.
Chronology/Biography of Virginia Woolf:
1883: Virginia lived
at Number 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington, London with the seven other
children of the extended family which had been made up by both her
parents previous marriages.
1890: The family
spent many long holidays at this period at St.Ives in Cornwall and
it was to become the setting of many of her novels and inspired
"To the Lighthouse".
1891: Started the
"Hyde Park Gate News" a weekly newspaper which contained
her first works of fiction.
1895: Death of her
Mother. Virginia suffered her first mental breakdown. Her half sister
Stella took on the running of the household.
1897: Stella married
Jack HIlls but also died suddenly on return from her honeymoon.
Her eldest true sister Vanessa then took over the house. Her father
had an extensive library and Virginia was allowed to use its full
range and she was determined to become a writer herself one day.
Although Virginia never went to School, Vanessa trained to be a
painter and her two full brothers went to Cambridge. Thoby was to
meet Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell, Lytton Strachy and Maynard Keynes
who were all to figure in their lives later on.
1904: Her father
died and Virginia had her second nervous breakdown. Vanessa took
the family to a new house at 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London.
Virginia started writing reviews for The Guardian.
1905: Virginia Woolf
started to write for the TImes Literary Supplement.
1906: Thoby died
of Typhoid following a trip to Greece.
1907: Her sister
Vanessa married Clive Bell. Virginia and her surviving brother Adrian
moved to 29 Fitzroy Square Bloomsbury where they continued Thoby's
Thursday evening discussion groups for friends.
29 Fitzroy Square, London where Virginia Woolf lived
with her husband
(© Anthony Blagg)
1911: Virginia Woolf
moved to 38 Brunswick Square. She began renting small houses near
Lewes in Sussex particularly Asheham House.
1912: Leonard Woolf
returned on leave from the Ceylon Civil Service and almost at once
proposed to Virginia. Eventually she agreed.
1913: Virginia completed
her first novel "The Voyage Out" which she had begun five
years earlier. She had another severe nervous breakdown so the work
was not published until 1915.
1915: First attempt
at suicide. Rented a house in Richmond on Thames.
1916: Vanessa Bell
began renting Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex nearby Asheham House.
1917: The Woolf's,
now living in Richmond Surrey, bought a small hand printing press
so that they could take up printing principally as therapy for Virginia.
1919: The Woolfs
bought Monks House in the village of Rodmell as a holiday home.
of her first collection of short stories. "Monday or Tuesday"
which were seen as experimental for the day.
1922: Their printing
work became a full scale printing business in the shape of the Hogarth
Press and Virginia published most of her works with Hogarth. This
Company went on to publish other experimental writers including
T.S. Eliot. Her first experimental novel
"Jacob's Room" was published.
of "Mr Bennet and Mrs Brown" in the Athenaeum" an
attack on the aesthetic of the "Georgian Novelists" such
as Arnold Bennett, John
Galsworthy and H.G. Wells
1924: The Woolf's
moved back to London to live at 52 Tavistock Square.
of "Mrs Dalloway".
of "To the Lighthouse"
1928: Her involvement
with Vita Sackville-West led to the publication of "Orlando",
a tale of a poet who travels through four centuries changing sex
on the way.
1929: Talks she
gave to Women's Colleges at Cambridge University inspired "A
Room of One's Own", which is still regarded as a feminist classic
and states that a woman should have money and space of her own is
she is to flourish as a writer.
of "The Waves". The 1930's were a time of worsening health
and depression for Virginia.
of "Flush", a fictional Biography of Elizabeth Barret
of "The Years"
of Three Guineas".
of the Second World War.
of a biography of her friend Roger Fry. Moved to Monk's House permanently
when their London Home was bombed out in the Blitz.
- 1915: “The
“Night and Day”.
“To the Lighthouse”.
“A Room of One's Own”.
“Between the Acts”.
“The Death of the Moth”.
10th August 1912: To Leonard Woolf at St. Pancras
Date and Place of Death:
28th March 1941, drowned herself in the River
Ouse after weighting her pockets with stones, near Rodmell, Sussex,
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Her ashes were buried in the garden of Monk's House, Rodmell,
, under one of a pair of elm trees.
Places of Interest:
Rodmell: Monk's House is now owned by the National
Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain
c/o Sir Charles Fairhaven