Virginia Woolf Quotes

Quotes tagged as "virginia-woolf" (showing 1-30 of 106)
Virginia Woolf
“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”
Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
“I want to write a novel about Silence," he said; “the things people don’t say.”
Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

Virginia Woolf
“I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and music and everything beautiful.”
Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

Virginia Woolf
“Yes, I deserve a spring–I owe nobody nothing.”
Virginia Woolf, A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
“anyone who’s worth anything reads just what he likes, as the mood takes him, and with extravagant enthusiasm.”
Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room

Virginia Woolf
“However, the majority of women are neither harlots nor courtesans; nor do they sit clasping pug dogs to dusty velvet all through the summer afternoon. But what do they do then? and there came to my mind’s eye one of those long streets somewhere south of the river whose infinite rows are innumerably populated. With the eye of the imagination I saw a very ancient lady crossing the street on the arm of a middle-aged woman, her daughter, perhaps, both so respectably booted and furred that their dressing in the afternoon must be a ritual, and the clothes themselves put away in cupboards with camphor, year after year, throughout the summer months. They cross the road when the lamps are being lit (for the dusk is their favourite hour), as they must have done year after year. The elder is close on eighty; but if one asked her what her life has meant to her, she would say that she remembered the streets lit for the battle of Balaclava, or had heard the guns fire in Hyde Park for the birth of King Edward the Seventh. And if one asked her, longing to pin down the moment with date and season, but what were you doing on the fifth of April 1868, or the second of November 1875, she would look vague and say that she could remember nothing. For all the dinners are cooked; the plates and cups washed; the children sent to school and gone out into the world. Nothing remains of it all. All has vanished. No biography or history has a word to say about it. And the novels, without meaning to, inevitably lie.

All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be recorded, I said, addressing Mary Carmichael as if she were present; and went on in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life, whether from the women at the street corners with their arms akimbo, and the rings embedded in their fat swollen fingers, talking with a gesticulation like the swing of Shakespeare’s words; or from the violet-sellers and match-sellers and old crones stationed under doorways; or from drifting girls whose faces, like waves in sun and cloud, signal the coming of men and women and the flickering lights of shop windows. All that you will have to explore, I said to Mary Carmichael, holding your torch firm in your hand.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Virginia Woolf
“My belief is that if we live another century or so — I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals — and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting-room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky, too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton's bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare's sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Virginia Woolf
“They all dreamt of each other that night, as was natural, considering how thin the partitions were between them, and how strangely they had been lifted off the earth to sit next each other in mid-ocean, and see every detail of each others' faces, and hear whatever they chanced to say.”
Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

Virginia Woolf
“No sooner have you feasted on beauty with your eyes than your mind tells you that beauty is vain and beauty passes”
Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
“Lord, how unutterably disgusting life is! What dirty tricks it plays us, one moment free; the next, this. Here we are among the breadcrumbs and the stained napkins again. That knife is already congealing with grease. Disorder, sordidity and corruption surrounds us. We have been taking into our mouths the bodies of dead birds. It is with these greasy crumbs, slobbering over napkins, and little corpses that we have to build. Always it begins again; always there is the enemy; eyes meeting ours; fingers twitching ours; the effort waiting. Call the waiter. Pay the bill. We must pull ourselves up out of the chairs. We must find our coats. We must go. Must, must, must — detestable word. Once more, I who had thought myself immune, who had said, "Now I am rid of all that", find that the wave has tumbled me over, head over heels, scattering my possessions, leaving me to collect, to assemble, to head together, to summon my forces, rise and confront the enemy.”
Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Virginia Woolf
“As summer neared, as the evening lengthened there came to the wakeful, the hopeful, walking the beach, stirring the pool, imaginations of the strangest kind- of flesh turned to atoms which drove before the wind, of stars flashing in their hearts, of outwardly the scattered parts of the vision within. In those mirrors, the minds of men, in those pools of uneasy water, in which cloud forever and shadows form, dreams persisted; and it was impossible to resist the strange intimation which every gull, flower, tree, man and woman, and the white earth itself seemed to declare (but if you questioned at once to withdraw) that good triumph, happiness prevails, order rules, or to resist the extra ordinary stimulus to range hither and thither in search of some absolute good, some crystal of intensity remote from the known pleasures and familiar virtues, something alien to the processes of domestic life, single, hard, bright, like a diamond in the sand which would render the possessor secure. Moreover softened and acquiescent, the spring with their bees humming and gnats dancing threw her cloud about her, veiled her eyes, averted her head, and among passing shadows and fights of small rain seemed to have taken upon her knowledge of the sorrows of mankind.”
Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”
Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
“But Orlando was a woman — Lord Palmerston had just proved it. And when we are writing the life of a woman, we may, it is agreed, waive our demand for action, and substitute love instead. Love, the poet has said, is woman’s whole existence. And if we look for a moment at Orlando writing at her table, we must admit that never was there a woman more fitted for that calling. Surely, since she is a woman, and a beautiful woman, and a woman in the prime of life, she will soon give over this pretence of writing and thinking and begin at least to think of a gamekeeper (and as long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking). And then she will write him a little note (and as long as she writes little notes nobody objects to a woman writing either) and make an assignation for Sunday dusk and Sunday dusk will come; and the gamekeeper will whistle under the window — all of which is, of course, the very stuff of life and the only possible subject for fiction. Surely Orlando must have done one of these things? Alas,— a thousand times, alas, Orlando did none of them. Must it then be admitted that Orlando was one of those monsters of iniquity who do not love? She was kind to dogs, faithful to friends, generosity itself to a dozen starving poets, had a passion for poetry. But love — as the male novelists define it — and who, after all, speak with greater authority?— has nothing whatever to do with kindness, fidelity, generosity, or poetry. Love is slipping off one’s petticoat and — But we all know what love is. Did Orlando do that? Truth compels us to say no, she did not. If then, the subject of one’s biography will neither love nor kill, but will only think and imagine, we may conclude that he or she is no better than a corpse and so leave her.”
Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Sylvia Plath
“But the life of a Willa Cather, a Lillian Helman, and Virginia Woolf - - - would it not be a series of rapid ascents and probing descents into shades and meanings — into more people, ideas and conceptions? Would it not be in color, rather than black-and-white, or more gray? I think it would. And thus, I not being them, could try to be more like them: to listen, observe, and feel, and try to live more fully.”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Virginia Woolf
“And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst, she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her, as well as honour and love her, for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured.”
Virginia Woolf, Selected Essays

“It is extremely difficult to say with any sense at all of adequacy what To the Lighthouse is all about.”
Arnold Kettle

Virginia Woolf
“For the film maker must come by his convention, as painters and writers and musicians have done before him.”
Virginia Woolf, Selected Essays

E.M. Forster
“The Waves is an extraordinary achievement ... It is trembling on the edge. A little less - and it would lose its poetry. A little more - and it would be over into the abyss, and be dull and arty. It is her greatest book.”
E.M. Forster

Virginia Woolf
“For if it is rash to walk into a lion's den unarmed, rash to navigate the Atlantic in a rowing boat, rash to stand on one foot on top of St. Paul's, it is still more rash to go home alone with a poet.”
Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Elizabeth Gilbert
“But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time's passage without the fear that you've just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You'll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don't have any? What kind of person does that make me?
Virginia Woolf wrote, "Across the broad continent of a woman's life falls the shadow of a sword." On one side of that sword, she said, there lies convention and tradition and order, where "all is correct." But on the other side of that sword, if you're crazy enough to cross it and choose a life that does not follow convention, "all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course." Her argument was that the crossing of the shadow of that sword may bring a far more interesting existence to a woman, but you can bet it will also be more perilous.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Virginia Woolf
“I like reading my own writing. It seems to fit me closer than it did before.”
Virginia Woolf, A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf

Rebecca Solnit
“Why do such bad questions get predictably asked? Maybe part of the problem is that we have learned to ask the wrong questions of ourselves. Our culture is steeped in a kind of pop psychology whose obsessive question is: Are you happy? We ask it so reflexively that i seems natural to wish that a pharmacist with a time machine could deliver a lifetime supply of antidepressants to Bloomsbury, so that an incomparable feminist prose stylist could be reoriented to produce litters of Woolf babies.”
Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions

Rebecca Solnit
“After all, many people make babies; only one made To the Lighthouse and Three Guineas...”
Rebecca Solnit , The Mother of All Questions

Virginia Woolf
“I sleep among ravishing illusions and wake to their burden.”
Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume Three: 1925-1930

Virginia Woolf
“As I write, there rises somewhere in my head that queer and very pleasant sense of something which I want to write; my own point of view...”
Virginia Woolf, A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf

Alison Bechdel
“I put the odds on a psychic deathmatch between Attila the Hun and Virginia Woolf at fifty-fifty.”
Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother?

Virginia Woolf
“In writing choose the common words; avoid rhapsody and eloquence – yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.”
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

Virginia Woolf
“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. The lamp in the spine does not light on beef and prunes. We are all ”
Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
“She was like a crinkled poppy; with the desire to drink dry dust”
Virginia Woolf, جيوب مثقلة بالحجارة ورواية لم تكتب بعد

Lucy Worsley
“And the last word may go to Virginia Woolf:

Jane Austen was born before those bonds which (we are told) protected woman from truth, were burst by the Brontës or elaborately untied by George Eliot. Yet the fact remains that Jane Austen knew much more about men than either of them. Jane Austen may have been protected from truth: but it was precious little of truth that was protected from her.”
Lucy Worsley, Jane Austen at Home

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