Quotes

35 Best Virginia Woolf Quotes About Life, Love, Writing & Feminism

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virginia woolf quotes

Adeline Virginia Woolf, known mainly as just Virginia Woolf, was born on January 25, 1882, to a privileged English household. She was raised by free-thinking parents who encouraged and nurtured her writing from a young age.

The writer grew up to be a fierce force in 20th-century modernist literature. Woolf even pioneered the stream of consciousness technique, a technique authors such as Slyvia Plath, William Faulkner, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett took up.

She added her hand in the feminist movement with her works of fiction that we still learn about in our schools, yet she never identified as a feminist herself.

Some of her most popular works include novels such as "Mrs. Dalloway," "To the Lighthouse," "The Voyage Out," "Jacob's Room," "Orlando," and "The Waves," with her most famous essay being "A Room of One's Own."

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What better way to celebrate the great author Virginia Woolf's birthday than with some of her best quotes?

35 Best Virginia Woolf Quotes on Life, Love, Writing and Feminism

1. "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." — Virginia Woolf

2. "You cannot find peace by avoiding life." — Virginia Woolf, "The Voyage Out"

3. "Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends." — Virginia Woolf, "The Waves"

4. "If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people." — Virginia Woolf

5. "Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more." — Virginia Woolf

6. "Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?" — Virginia Woolf

7. "I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in." — Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

8. "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." — Virginia Woolf

9. "I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past." — Virginia Woolf

10. "The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages." — Virginia Wolf, "An Unwritten Novel"

11. "Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size." — Virginia Woolf

12. "Arrange whatever pieces come your way." — Virginia Woolf

13. "Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible." — Virginia Woolf

14. "As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." — Virginia Woolf

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15. "The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself." — Virginia Woolf

16. "The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder." — Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

17. "It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple: one must be a woman manly, or a man womanly." — Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

18. "Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top." — Virginia Woolf

19. "To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves." — Virginia Woolf

20. "The older one grows, the more one likes indecency." — Virginia Woolf

21. "Language is wine upon the lips." — Virginia Woolf

22. "These are the soul's changes. I don't believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one's aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism." — Virginia Woolf

23. "Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame." — Virginia Woolf

24. "Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works." — Virginia Woolf

25. "Really I don't like human nature unless all candied over with art." — Virginia Woolf

26. "Mental fight means thinking against the current, not with it. It is our business to puncture gas bags and discover the seeds of truth." —Virginia Woolf

27. "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." — Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

28. "The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity." — Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

29. "There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking." — Virginia Woolf, "Orlando"

30. "On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points." — Virginia Woolf

31. "Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order." — Virginia Woolf

32. "Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others." — Virginia Woolf

33. "It's not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases, that age and kill us; it's the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses." — Virginia Woolf

34. "Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic." — Virginia Woolf

35. "It is far more difficult to murder a phantom than a reality." — Virginia Woolf

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Deauna Nunes is an assistant editor who covers pop culture, lifestyle, love and relationship topics for YourTango. She's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter and on Instagram.

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