Top Woolf Quotes

Browse top 40 famous quotes and sayings about Woolf by most favorite authors.

Favorite Woolf Quotes

1. "Reading Proust nearly silenced Virginia Woolf. She loved his novel, but loved it rather too much. There wasn't enough wrong with it—a crushing recognition when one considers Walter Benjamin's assessment of why people become writers: because they are unable to find a book already written that they are completely happy with. And"
Author: Alain De Botton
2. "Noter nos impressions sur Hamlet après une relecture annuelle, écrivait Virginia Woolf, reviendrait à rédiger notre autobiographie puisque dès que nous en savons plus de la vie, Shakespeare commente ce que nous savons."
Author: Alberto Manguel
3. "I have never read Sylvia Plath. My mother has never read Virginia Woolf. In general, we have stayed out of one another's way like this."
Author: Alison Bechdel
4. "Can we really put Ben (hereby representing all men) on such a pedestal? Having tamed those beasts set aside for him, is it not like Ben to seek out that which has historically (regardless of how brief a history) been set aside for women? Woolf criticizes the masculine in her work with the repetition of the phrases uttered by that inconsiderate individual who makes the claim that women cannot paint or write. Is Ben not committing the same crime as that unfortunate character?In stating "[b]etter like this, bitch," Ben employs a word that I would consider to be demasculinizing, rather than feminine. In using the word bitch, he seizes this scholarly investigation and, if you will, pisses on it, claiming it as his own. His statement is an outright challenge. This is a book I stole from women, and I urinated on it. You'd better appreciate my conquest or I will also urinate on you."
Author: Caris O'Malley
5. "Mrs Woolf's complaint should be addressed to her creator, who made her, rather than me."
Author: Cecil Beaton
6. "Virgina Woolf versus Edward Lear.""Christ Alive," said Billy. "Are those my only choices?""I went for Lear," said Leon. "Partly out of fidelity to the letter L. Partly because given the choice between nonsense and boojy wittering you blatantly have to choose nonsense."
Author: China Miéville
7. "She looked at Woolf. "There's some kind of ...thing.""That sentence wasn't as helpful as you probably intended it to be," said Marcus."
Author: Dan Wells
8. "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 more interesting existence to a woman, but you can bet it will be more perilous."
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
9. "Leonard Woolf's endurance of Virginia's famous frigidity is, we must suppose after the fact, altogether to his credit. Their honeymoon did not bring the amelioration they had hoped for and it is incredibly innocent and moving to think of them discussing it with Vanessa. They wanted to know when she had first had an orgasm. She said she couldn't remember but she knew she had been "sympathetic" from the age of two. Vita Sackville-West said about Virginia, "She dislikes the possessiveness and love of domination in men. In fact she dislikes the quality of masculinity."
Author: Elizabeth Hardwick
10. "Something radically new, the producer tells me. Think Virginia Woolf with dead bodies and car chases."
Author: James Sallis
11. "We've inherited many ideas about writing that emerged in the eighteenth century, especially an interest in literature as both an expression and an exploration of the self. This development ? part of what distinguishes the "modern" from the "early modern" ? has shaped the work of many of our most celebrated authors, whose personal experiences indelibly and visibly mark their writing. It's fair to say that the fiction and poetry of many of the finest writers of the past century or so ? and I'm thinking here of Conrad, Proust, Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka, Plath, Ellison, Lowell, Sexton, Roth, and Coetzee, to name but a few ? have been deeply autobiographical. The link between the life and the work is one of the things we're curious about and look for when we pick up the latest book by a favorite author."
Author: James Shapiro
12. "The daughter of the literary biographer Leslie Stephen, and close friend of the innovative biographer of the Victorians, Lytton Strachey, Woolf herself put forward, in ‘The New Biography' (1927) (reviewing work by another biographer acquaintance, Harold Nicolson), her own memorable theory of biography, encapsulated in her phrase ‘granite and rainbow'. ‘Truth' she envisions ‘as something of granite-like solidity', and ‘personality assomething of rainbow-like intangibility', and ‘the aim of biography', she proposes, ‘is to weld these two into one seamless whole' (E4 473). The following short biographical account ofWoolf will attempt to keep to the basic granitelike facts that Woolf novices need to know, while also occasionally attending in brief to the more elusive, but equally relevant, matter of rainbow-like personality."
Author: Jane Goldman
13. "Woolf drew on her memories of her holidays in Cornwall for To the Lighthouse, which was conceived in part as an elegy on her parents. Her father was a vigorous walker and an Alpinist of some renown, a member of the Alpine Club and editor of the Alpine Journal from 1868 to 1872; he was the first person to climb the Schreckhorn in the Alps and he wrote on Alpine pleasures in The Playground of Europe (1871). By the time he married Julia Duckworth in 1878, however, a more sedentary Leslie Stephen was the established editor of the Cornhill Magazine, from which he later resigned to take up the editorship of the Dictionary of National Biography in 1882, the year of Woolf 's birth. Stephen laboured on this monumental Victorian enterprise until 1990, editing single-handed the first twenty-six volumes and writing well over 300 biographical entries. He also published numerous volumes of criticism, the most important of which were on eighteenth-century thought and literature."
Author: Jane Goldman
14. "Reading Virginia Woolf will change your life, may even save it. If you want to make sense of modern life, the works of Virginia Woolf remain essential reading. More than fifty years since her death, accounts of her life still set the pace for modern modes of living. Plunge (and this Introduction is intended to help you take the plunge) into Woolf 's works – at any point – whether in hernovels, her short stories, her essays, her polemical pamphlets, or her published letters, diaries, memoirs and journals – and you will be transported by her elegant, startling, buoyant sentences to a world where everything in modern life (cinema, sexuality, shopping, education, feminism, politics, war and so on) is explored and questioned and refashioned."
Author: Jane Goldman
15. "Woolf criticism has not evolved smoothly, and it would be misleading to say that any one approach or interpretation has ever prevailed to the exclusion of others. There are continuities and discontinuities in trends and arguments,areas of common ground and major points of dispute."
Author: Jane Goldman
16. "Modernism and feminism are two broad axes on which Woolf criticism turns, and there are many other categories that reflect the range of positions available in literary criticism more generally, such as postmodernist, psychoanalytical,historicist, materialist, postcolonial, and so on."
Author: Jane Goldman
17. "Like James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Woolf 's first novel is a self-conscious meditation on the formation of an emergent intellectual and artist (a Ku¨nstlerroman)."
Author: Jane Goldman
18. "Bloomsbury lost Fry, in 1934, and Lytton Strachey before him, in January 1932, to early deaths. The loss of Stracheywas compounded by Carrington's suicide just two months after, in March. Another old friend, Ka Cox, died of a heart attack in 1938. But the death, in 1937, of Woolf 's nephew Julian, in the Spanish Civil War, was perhaps thebitterest blow. Vanessa found her sister her only comfort: ‘I couldn't get on at all if it weren't for you' (VWB2 203). Julian, a radical thinker and aspiring writer, campaigned all his life against war, but he had to be dissuaded by hisfamily from joining the International Brigade to fight Franco. Instead he worked as an ambulance driver, a role that did not prevent his death from shrapnel wounds. Woolf 's Three Guineas, she wrote to his mother, waswritten ‘as an argument with him"
Author: Jane Goldman
19. "Woolf turned her back on a number of tokens of her rising eminence in the 1930s, including an offer of the Companion of Honour award, an invitation from Cambridge University to give the Clark lectures, and honorary doctorate degrees from Manchester University and Liverpool University.‘It is an utterly corrupt society,' she wrote in her diary, ‘. . . & I will take nothing that it can give me"
Author: Jane Goldman
20. "In 1925 Woolf began an affair with Sackville-West, who was married to Harold Nicolson, the diplomat and writer, and the development of their close relationship, which does not seem to have undermined either woman's marriage, coincided with Woolf 's most productive years as a writer."
Author: Jane Goldman
21. "In 1922 Woolf met the writer Vita Sackville-West, who was to join Vanessa Bell and Leonard Woolf as the most significant people in her life."
Author: Jane Goldman
22. "Woolf 's control over the production of her own work is a significant factor in her genesis as a writer. The Hogarth Press became an important and influential publishing house in the decades that followed. It was responsible, for example, for the first major works of Freud in English, beginning in 1922, and published significant works by key modernist writers such as T. S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein. Woolf herself set the type for the Hogarth edition ofEliot's The Waste Land (1923), which he read to them in June 1922, and which she found to have ‘great beauty & force of phrase: symmetry; & tensity. What connects it together, I'm not so sure' (D2 178)."
Author: Jane Goldman
23. "Woolf wanted to say dangerous things in Orlando but she did not want to say them in the missionary position."
Author: Jeanette Winterson
24. "Woolf worried about the childlessness from time to time, and suffered from the imposed anxiety that she was not, unlike her friend Vita Sackville-West, a real woman. I do not know what kind of woman one would have to be to stand unflinchingly in front of The Canon, but I would guess, a real one. There is something sadistic in the whip laid on women to prove themselves as mothers and wives at the same time as making their way as artists. The abnormal effort that can be diverted or divided. We all know the story of Coleridge and the Man from Porlock. What of the woman writer and a whole family of Porlocks?For most of us the dilemma is rhetorical but those women who are driven with consummate energy through a single undeniable channel should be applauded and supported as vigorously as the men who have been setting themselves apart for centuries."
Author: Jeanette Winterson
25. "If you try to write posthumously, however, fashion doesn't apply. You step off the catwalk, ignoring this season's trends and resigning yourself to being unfashionable and possibly unnoticed, at least for a while. As Kurt Woolf, Kafka's first publisher in Germany, wrote to him after Kafka's book tanked, "You and we know that it is generally just the best and most valuable things that do not find their echo immediately." Fashion is the attempt to evade that principle: to be the echo of someone else's success and, therefore, to create nothing that might create an echo of its own."
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
26. "Did he ever--try?'Mingus shrugged. 'He was like you.'What's that mean?'Means he tried.'Of course. The ring was not a neutral tool. It judged its wearer: Aaron Doily flew drunkenly, and Dylan flew like a coward, only when it didn't matter, at the Windles' pond. So if had attuned to Robert Woolfolk's chaos.Don't tell me,' said Dylan. 'He flew sideways.'Mingus left it vague. He'd always made it his habit to protect their honor against one another--Dylan, Arthur, Robert. To say nothing."
Author: Jonathan Lethem
27. "The next day it's Virginia Woolf who wafts through. Hers is acuriously insistent presence; take your eyes off her for a moment andthe next thing you know she's rearranging your syntax as though itwere cutlery improperly laid out for a seven-course meal with someforeign dignitary who disdains your nation's table manners."
Author: Kamila Shamsie
28. "We cannot turn away," Miss Woolf told her, "we must get on with our job and we must bear witness." What did that mean, Ursula wondered. "It means," Miss Woolf said, "that we must remember these people when we are safely in the future.""And if we are killed?""Then others must remember us."
Author: Kate Atkinson
29. "Stella was one of Mr Bullock's ‘chorus girls' and confessed (readily) to being a ‘striptease artiste' but Mr Armitage the opera singer said, "We're all artistes here, darling.""What a bloody fairy that man is," Mr Bullock muttered, "put him in the army, that would sort him out." "I doubt it," Miss Woolf said. (And it did rather beg the question why the strapping Mr Bullock himself had not been called up for active service.) "So," Mr Bullock concluded, "we've got a Yid, a pansy and a tart, sounds like a dirty music-hall joke.""It is intolerance that has brought us to this pass, Mr Bullock," Miss Woolf reproved him midly."
Author: Kate Atkinson
30. "As an actor, to go and see those shows - great plays like 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and Clifford Odets's 'Golden Boy' - it's so exhilarating. I'd personally love to perform the role of Jerry in Edward Albee's 'The Zoo Story.' He's a transient, lost soul, and an example of humanity at its rawest."
Author: Keegan Allen
31. "She pulled off Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and settled down in a comfortable leather chair by the fire to read."
Author: Lucinda Riley
32. "Right now she is reading Virginia Woolf, all of Virginia Woolf, book by book-She is fascinated by the idea of a woman like that, a woman of such brilliance, such strangeness, such immeasurable sorrow; a woman who had genius but still filled her pocket with a stone and waded out into a river."
Author: Michael Cunningham
33. "Virginia Woolf came along in the early part of the century and essentially said through her writing, yes, big books can be written about the traditional big subjects. There is war. There is the search for God. These are all very important things."
Author: Michael Cunningham
34. "Virginia Woolf's great novel, 'Mrs. Dalloway,' is the first great book I ever read. I read it almost by accident when I was in high school, when I was 15 years old."
Author: Michael Cunningham
35. "Like my hero Virginia Woolf, I do lack confidence. I always find that the novel I'm finishing, even if it's turned out fairly well, is not the novel I had in my mind. I think a lot of writers must negotiate this, and if they don't admit it, they're not being honest."
Author: Michael Cunningham
36. "A middle-aged woman who looked like someone's cleaning lady, a shrieking adolescent lunatic and a talkshow host with an orange face... It didn't add up. Suicide wasn't invented for people like this. It was invented for people like Virginia Woolf and Nick Drake. And Me. Suicide was supposed to be cool."
Author: Nick Hornby
37. "Virginia Woolf said that writers must be androgynous. I'll go a step further. You must be bisexual."
Author: Rita Mae Brown
38. "Now, Woolf calls her fictional bastion of male privilege Oxbridge, so I'll call mine Yarvard. Even though she cannot attend Yarvard because she is a woman, Judith cheerfully applies for admission at, let's call it, Smithcliff, a prestigious women's college. She is denied admission on the grounds thatthe dorms and classrooms can'taccommodate wheelchairs, that her speech pattern would interfere with her elocution lessons, and that her presence would upset the other students. There is also the suggestion that she is not good marriage material for the men at the elite college to which Smithcliff is a bride-supplying "sister school." The letter inquires as to why she hasn't been institutionalized.When she goes to the administration building to protest the decision, she can't get up the flight of marble steps on the Greek Revival building. This edifice was designed to evoke a connection to the Classical world, which practiced infanticide of disabled newborns."
Author: Rosemarie Garland Thomson
39. "It's rather splendid to think of all those great men and women who appear to have presented symptoms that allow us to describe them as bipolar. Whether it's Hemingway, Van Gogh... Robert Schumann has been mentioned... Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath... some of them with rather grim ends."
Author: Stephen Fry
40. "Here have lived for more centuries than I can count, the obscure generations of my own obscure family. Not one of these Richards, Johns, Annes, Elizabeths have left a token of himself behind him, yet all, working together with their spades and their needles, their love-making and their child-bearing have left this."-Viginia Woolf"
Author: Virginia Woolf

Woolf Quotes Pictures

Quotes About Woolf
Quotes About Woolf
Quotes About Woolf

Today's Quote

Ah, the ocean. The movement of eternity right in front of us." (61)"
Author: Carol Lynn Pearson

Famous Authors

Popular Topics