Quotations by Woolf, Virginia


Once you begin to take yourself seriously as a leader or as a follower, as a modern or as a conservative, then you become a self-conscious, biting, and scratching little animal whose work is not of the slightest value or importance to anybody.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
“A Letter to a Young Poet,” The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942)
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One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings, as we take our place among them.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
“Hours in a Library,” Times Literary Supplement (London) (30 Nov 1916)
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If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
“The Leaning Tower,” Lecture, Workers’ Educational Association, Brighton (May 1940)
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A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929)
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When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one’s audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929)
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The human frame being what it is, heart, body and brain all mixed together, and not contained in separate compartments as they will be no doubt in another million years, a good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929)
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Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 3 (1929)
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Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 4 (1929)
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I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out, and I thought how it is worse perhaps to be locked in.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929)
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I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 3 (1929)
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Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
Orlando: A Biography, ch. 4 (1928)
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Among the tortures and devastations of life is this then — our friends are not able to finish their stories.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
The Waves (1931)
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Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes. Any help we can give you must be different from that you can give yourselves, and perhaps the value of that help may lie in the fact of that difference.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
Three Guineas, ch. 1 (1938)
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What is the meaning of life? That was all — a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one. This, that, and the other….

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
To the Lighthouse, Part 3, ch. 3 (1927)
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Look here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads — They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
Letter to Vita Sackville-West (1927)
Added on 15-Sep-14 | Last updated 15-Sep-14
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