Virginia Woolf quotes

Born
25 January 1882 South Kensington, London.

Died
28 March 1941.

Occupation
Author.

Virginia Woolf was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.

It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple: one must be a woman manly, or a man womanly.
– Virginia Woolf
It is far more difficult to murder a phantom than a reality.
– Virginia Woolf
If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
– Virginia Woolf
It seems as if an age of genius must be succeeded by an age of endeavour; riot and extravagance by cleanliness and hard work.
– Virginia Woolf
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
– Virginia Woolf
I was in a queer mood, thinking myself very old: but now I am a woman again – as I always am when I write.
– Virginia Woolf
Thought and theory must precede all salutary action; yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.
– Virginia Woolf
For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.
– Virginia Woolf
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
– Virginia Woolf
A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.
– Virginia Woolf
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
The poet gives us his essence, but prose takes the mold of the body and mind.
– Virginia Woolf
Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
– Virginia Woolf
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
The connection between dress and war is not far to seek; your finest clothes are those you wear as soldiers.
– Virginia Woolf
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
This is not writing at all. Indeed, I could say that Shakespeare surpasses literature altogether, if I knew what I meant.
– Virginia Woolf
That great Cathedral space which was childhood.
– Virginia Woolf
Nothing induces me to read a novel except when I have to make money by writing about it. I detest them.
– Virginia Woolf
Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.
– Virginia Woolf
Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.
– Virginia Woolf
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
Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.
– Virginia Woolf
Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
– Virginia Woolf
Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.
– Virginia Woolf
The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.
– Virginia Woolf
I read the book of Job last night, I don’t think God comes out well in it.
– Virginia Woolf
To depend upon a profession is a less odious form of slavery than to depend upon a father.
– Virginia Woolf
Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art.
– Virginia Woolf
Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?
– Virginia Woolf
Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.
– Virginia Woolf
Language is wine upon the lips.
– Virginia Woolf
Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
– 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
If one could be friendly with women, what a pleasure – the relationship so secret and private compared with relations with men. Why not write about it truthfully?
– Virginia Woolf
Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic.
– Virginia Woolf
It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.
– Virginia Woolf
As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.
– Virginia Woolf
You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
– Virginia Woolf
Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.
– Virginia Woolf
On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.
– Virginia Woolf
The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
– Virginia Woolf
A masterpiece is something said once and for all, stated, finished, so that it’s there complete in the mind, if only at the back.
– Virginia Woolf
Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
– Virginia Woolf
Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.
– Virginia Woolf
I want the concentration and the romance, and the worlds all glued together, fused, glowing: have no time to waste any more on prose.
– Virginia Woolf