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Virginia Woolf: And the Women Who Shaped Her World

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  14 ratings  ·  5 reviews
An insightful, witty look at Virginia Woolf through the lens of the extraordinary women closest to her.

How did Adeline Virginia Stephen become the great writer Virginia Woolf? Acclaimed biographer Gillian Gill tells the stories of the women whose legacies—of strength, style, and creativity—shaped Woolf’s path to the radical writing that inspires so many today.

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Hardcover, 432 pages
Published December 3rd 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Joseph Spuckler
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Virginia Woolf: And the Women Who Shaped Her World by Gillian Gill is a biography of Virginia Woolf and her forebearers. Gill, who holds a Ph.D. in modern French literature from Cambridge University, has taught at Northeastern, Wellesley, Yale, and Harvard. She is the author of We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals; Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale; Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries; and Mary Baker Eddy.

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Linden
Gillian Gill presents an extensively researched life of Virginia Woolf, including her ancestors and early influences in addition to the Bloomsbury Group. There was a fair amount of unpleasantness discussed; the Bloomsbury members were a rather licentious lot. Virginia and Leonard Woolf weren’t sleeping around, but apparently everyone else was. Virginia, Vanessa, and their mentally disabled half-sister were said to have been sexually abused by a creepy older half-brother, and a man who admired ...more
Elisa
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
An uneasy mixture of gossip and fact-finding, insufficiently scholarly to stand as a contribution to Woolf Studies but more detailed than the common reader is likely to want or need. While it is useful to have all this info on the various women in Woolf's life collected in one place, there is not much new here, especially in terms of Woolf's late relationships with Vanessa, Vita, and Ethyl Smythe. Book is best on Pattledom and the women who influenced the young Virginia Stephen, but I felt there ...more
Kay
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Virginia Woolf is one of those names people know even if they wonder why they should be afraid of her. I admit that I haven't read any of Virginia Woolf's works yet, but this book now makes me want to do this. This book, primarily about the women who shaped her world as titled, also includes a lot about the men who were just as influential. For example, she wouldn't have that catchy last name of Woolf if she had not married Leonard Woolf who I find equally as interesting. I was delighted to ...more
Sharyn Berg
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book left me feeling like I knew everyone in Virginia Woolf’s extended family and all their drama and issues. Apparently the Victorian age was not quite as Victorian as we like to think in this day and time. From what I read here, it appears that everybody was having sex with everybody else regardless of male or female, married or single, old or young! Some of it was very open, some of it was clandestine, and some of it was known but never spoken of. Virginia came from a troubled time and a ...more
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Gillian Gill, who holds a PhD in modern French literature from Cambridge University, has taught at Northeastern, Wellesley, Yale, and Harvard. She is the author of Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, and Mary Baker Eddy. She lives in suburban Boston.