Virginia Woolf Quotes

1 | 2 | 3
Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
Virginia Woolf (The Common Reader - Modern Fiction, 1925)
A million candles burnt in him without his being at the trouble of lighting a single one.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
There was a star riding through clouds one night, and I said to the star, "Consume me".
Virginia Woolf (The Waves, 1931)
Over the obscure man is poured the merciful suffusion of darkness. None knows where he goes or comes. He may seek the truth and speak it; he alone is free; he alone is truthful, he alone is at peace.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own, 1929)
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 (Three Guineas, 1938)
Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.
Virginia Woolf (Jacob's Room, 1922)
Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own, 1929)
It is notorious that illusions are shattered by conflict with reality, so no real happiness, no real wit, no real profundity are tolerated where the illusion prevails.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
Here on this ring of grass we have sat together, bound by the tremendous power of some inner compulsion. The trees wave, the clouds pass. The time approaches when these soliloquies shall be shared.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves, 1931)
The strongest natures, when they are influenced, submit the most unreservedly: it is perhaps a sign of their strength.
Virginia Woolf (Essay on Henry David Thoreau)
I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
Virginia Woolf
Without self-confidence we are as babes in the cradle. And how can we generate this imponderable quality, which is yet so invaluable, most quickly? By thinking that other people are inferior to oneself.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own, 1929)
Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely? All this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely?
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, 1925)
Life for both sexes - and I looked at them, shouldering their way along the pavement - is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own, 1929)
For it would seem - her case proved it - that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
The strange thing about life is that though the nature of it must have been apparent to every one for hundreds of years, no one has left any adequate account of it. The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?
Virginia Woolf (Jacob's Room, 1922)
For while directly we say that [the length of human life] is ages long, we are reminded that it is briefer than the fall of a rose leaf to the ground.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own, 1929)
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 (To the Lighthouse, 1927)
The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness. He alone lives, while other people, slaves of ceremony, let life slip past them in a kind of dream.
Virginia Woolf (The Common Reader - Montaigne, 1925)
Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
For once the disease of reading has laid upon the system it weakens so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse, 1927)
This late age of the world’s experience had bred in them all, all men and women, a well of tears. Tears and sorrows; courage and endurance; a perfectly upright and stoical bearing.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, 1925)
She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, 1925)
Let us again pretend that life is a solid substance, shaped like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers. Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical story, so that when one matter is despatched—love for instance—we go on, in an orderly manner, to the next.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves, 1931)
Clarissa had a theory in those days . . . that since our apparitions, the part of us which appears, are so momentary compared with the other, the unseen part of us, which spreads wide, the unseen might survive, be recovered somehow attached to this person or that, or even haunting certain places after death . . . perhaps—perhaps.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, 1925)
No passion is stronger in the breast of man than the desire to make others believe as he believes. Nothing so cuts at the root of his happiness and fills him with rage as the sense that another rates low what he prizes high...  It is not the love of truth, but desire to prevail that sets quarter against quarter and makes parish desire the downfall of parish.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
Nature, who has played so many queer tricks upon us, making us so unequally of clay and diamonds, of rainbow and granite, and stuffed them into a case, often of the most incongruous, for the poet has a butcher's face and the butcher a poet's; nature, who has so much to answer for besides the perhaps unwieldy length of this sentence, has further complicated our task and added to our confusion by providing...a perfect rag-bag of odds and ends within us...[and] has contrived that the whole assortment shall be lightly stitched together by a single thread. Memory is the seamstress and a capricious one at that.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando, 1928)
1 | 2 | 3

Virginia Woolf Biography

Born: January 25, 1882
Died: March 28, 1941

Virginia Woolf was a British author and writer. She was a influential literary figure in London during the interwar period. She is best known for her successful novels.

Notable Works

The Voyage Out (1915)
Night and Day (1919)
Jacob's Room (1922)
Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
To the Lighthouse (1927)
Orlando (1928)
A Room of One's Own (1929)
The Waves (1931)
Flush (1933)
The Years (1937)
Between the Acts (1941)