Virginia Woolf was considered one of the most important modernist writers of the 20th century.

25 January marks the birth anniversary of this stellar writer. Let’s refresh our memories of her on this day.

Born as Adeline Virginia Stephen, Virginia Woolf was born on 25th January 1882 to an affluent family in London as the seventh child out of eight. She was home-schooled in English classics and Victorian literature from a very young age. From 1897 to 1901, she attended the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London. She studied classics and history there. While in college, she encountered early reformers of women’s higher education and the women’s rights movement. In the 1900s Her father encouraged Virginia Woolf to write professionally.

Her family founded an artistic and literary group – Bloomsbury Group in 1904. In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf and in 1917 they created a publishing service named the Hogarth Press. This press later published much of Virginia’s work.

She published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915. This novel was set on a ship bound for South America and was about a group of young people with their misunderstandings and mismatched yearnings. 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). Her works sparked feminism and hence acquired much attention. Virginia Woolf became a prominent part of the 1970s feminist criticism movement.

Woolf is one of the more important 20th-century novelists. A modernist, she was one of the pioneers of using a stream of consciousness as a narrative device. Her works have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Virginia Woolf’s fiction has been studied for its insight into many themes including war, shell shock, witchcraft, and the role of social class in society. In the novel Mrs Dalloway, which was written after World War I, she discusses the theme of shell shock experienced by the soldiers who returned from war. In A Room of One’s Own (1929), she discusses how history has always equated witchcraft with creativity and genius among women. Even while she came from an elite class, Woolf always called out on the class system of Britain through her works.

Among Woolf’s non-fiction works, one of the best known is a book-length essay – A Room of One’s Own (1929). It was written following two lectures on ‘woman and fiction’ that she delivered at Cambridge University. This essay is considered an important work of feminist literary criticism. In it, she studies the historical disempowerment women have faced in many areas, including financial, social, and educational.

Throughout her life, Virginia Woolf has struggled with Mental Health issues. She was suffering from what now would be considered bipolar disorder. After two failed suicide attempts in various stages of her life, Virginia Wolf finally took her own life in 1941 by drowning herself in the river near her house.

Even after fifty years after her death, Woolf is still considered one of the prominent names when it comes to women’s literature and feminist literature. Studies are made on her works and her name would always be celebrated among the greatest writers of all time.


Poorna likes to write novels and poems. She is a graduate of ‘The Film and Television Institute of India’, Pune.

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Fly High Women: Feminism, Innovation, and Inspiration in Action And how you too can fly high! Buy One, Gift One
Fly High Women: Feminism, Innovation, and Inspiration in Action And how you too can fly high! Buy One, Gift One