Leonard Woolf: A Biography
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Leonard Woolf: A Biography

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Award-winning biographer Victoria Glendinning draws on her deep knowledge of the twentieth century literary scene, and on her meticulous research into previously untapped sources, to write the first full biography of the extraordinary man who was the "dark star" at the center of the Bloomsbury set, and the definitive portrait of the Woolf marriage. A man of extremes, Leona...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by Free Press (first published September 4th 2006)
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James Murphy
Because I've also read Victoria Glendinning's excellent biography of Vita Sackville-West, and now her life of Leonard Woolf, I think she knows these people well. Leonard was a person who certainly deserved the attention this book provides. Despite his own considerable achievements as writer and publisher, he's obviously important as the first critic and care-giver and "nurturer" (Glendinning's word) of Virginia Woolf. He played a very large role in making it possible for her to have the health a...more
Stephanie Patterson
When I was a young graduate student in English, Leonard Woolf was a feminist punching bag-the oppressive middle-class husband of the brilliant, ethereal Virginia Woolf. No one seemed to consider that living with someone mentally ill before the age of anti-psychotic and mood stabilizing medication could have been somewhat of a struggle or that a little stolidness might provide Mrs. Woolf with the stable environement she needed in order to write.
Over the years Leonard has begun to get his due It w...more
Catherine
An interesting read, but Glendinning is too much of an apologist for Woolf.
Jesse
After reading three biographies of Virginia Woolf, I decided it was time to read about her husband, Leonard Woolf. In the scholarship on Virginia, Leonard is a figure which divides people into a group that thinks he was good to his wife and a group which holds the opinion that he limited her creative powers. After reading Glendinning's biography, I'll go with the form, if only for the argument that without Leonard Virginia might have well died before she had published even one novel.

The great t...more
Ilze
What is it about elm trees – the good-tempered tree?
Elms tolerate a great deal and this could be why cabinet-makers had an interest in them, but the Woolfs? … Glendinning has written a unique and beautiful biography of a man she clearly has a lot of respect for. Enough respect that we don’t only get to see what Leonard Woolf did in his life, in a curriculum vitae kind of way, but there are descriptions of the way people treated him and his wife (and later his “mistress”). The book contains descr...more
Cindy Brown Ash
I'm such a nerd. The man died before I was born, but when I got to the account of Leonard's death, I cried.

OK, I'm a nerd, but the book is also that good. Glendinning writes vividly, accounting for Woolf's contradictions, his mannerisms, his friendships, his relations with all the many sorts of people whose lives he touched. She makes it clear that although he was a central part of Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury was not necessarily the center of his life. She provides a beautiful and moving account of...more
Kllrchrd
Ravishing dustjacket ..... and a good read!

Some of the writing is a bit choppy, a bit ... 'bitty'. But the man himself comes across well, tho i don't know how he suffered some of the (to me) intensely dull semi-political activities he got engaged in, he seemed selfless and capable of such extreme hard work.

Its interesting to read of the Webbs and other characters..... oops I don't want to give too much away.

From reading this Monks House which was his later residence shall always seem a warm a...more
Rob
How to make it through a time of great social and political change while a) being of a marginalized race, b) being the stabilizing influence for a very creative and bright but very unstable wife, c) influencing 20th century social and political thinking, d) starting an important press and e) living 89 productive years. Among many other things there would have been no Virginia Woolf had there been no Leonard Wolf. Well written, typically name ridden (it is a biography)—it's an empathetic look int...more
Steve Shilstone
The noted British publisher, author, engaged thinker, tenderly kept his mentally fragile genius of a wife alive for 30 years of marriage.
Kate
A well-written and engrossing biography that makes me want to delve deeper into Leonard Woolf's writings. While interested in reading about Leonard Woolf's life with Virginia Woolf, the chapters discussing his life following his wife's suicide held greater fascination for me. I realised, while reading, that I had not given much consideration to what Leonard Woolf's life must have been like in his later years. Victoria Glendinning paints a captivating picture of Leonard and includes many interest...more
Stefan
Brilliant biography. A penetrating account of the various aspects of this fascinating individual's life. Interesting insights into Bloomsbury and the world of the British intelligentsia in the first half of the 20-th C.
Rob & Liz
A book that took me a while to read because of the details involved. An amazing man who certainly deserved his own biography apart from his perhaps more famous wife.


Liz
Martha
Having read so many bios of V Woolf, it's good to read about how those events in Leonard's life related to VW and also to learn more about him.
Laura
after my Bloomsbury class am very intrigued (she's a very good biographer)
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British biographer, critic, broadcaster and novelist. She is President of English PEN, a winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was awarded a CBE in 1998 and is Vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature.

Glendinning read modern languages at Oxford and and worked as a teacher and social worker before becoming an editorial assistant for the Times Literary Supplement in 1974.

She has m...more
More about Victoria Glendinning...
Vita: The Life of Vita Sackville-West Electricity Anthony Trollope Elizabeth Bowen Raffles and the Golden Opportunity

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