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Why Is Virginia Woolf My Favorite Author?

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

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I started reading Woolf journals and books of letters in my early twenties. Virginia Woolf opened my eyes to the life of a writer, during the early 1900’s. As an avid journal-keeper and a lover of hand-written letters, my eyes became glued to her non-fiction books. We had shared interests with our passion for the written word and I felt connected to her.

She didn’t attend college, she was home schooled, with a heavy academic load in English classics and Victorian literature.

She was the 7th of 8 children from her “artist’s model” mother. Only the boys in the family received college educations. Her mother died when she was only thirteen years old. This brought on her first mental breakdown. She started writing in 1900, at the age of 18, encouraged by her father. When he died five years later, this brought on another mental breakdown.

Her brothers friends had connections which sent the family to Bloomsbury, where they formed the artistic and literary Bloomsbury Group. She married at age 30, to Leonard Woolf and together, they created the Hogarth press. She published eleven books and wrote articles and reviews on her friend's books.

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” 1929

Her mental illness was poorly managed by her doctors. She was frequently prescribed bed rest for months at a time, in order to cure her frequent headaches. I still have these books and read them occasionally. Now that I have more years and experiences on me, I wonder what all of her symptoms really were. She wrote about the headaches, exhaustion, and weakness she felt. She committed suicide at the age of 59 by putting rocks in the pockets of her coat, drowning in the River Ouse. She was clinically depressed, likely with Bipolar disorder, however it didn’t slow her down much.

She traveled and entertained extensively. She maintained two houses. She was admired and invited to attend social engagements frequently.

She carried on a long-standing affair with Vita Sackville-West. As a married woman, in the early 1900's, with proper Victorian ways, this blew my mind.

Virginia was a busy woman who also carved out the necessary time it takes to write novels.

With the proper medication, a healthy diet, herbal supplements, and an extensive array of therapeutic modalities at her disposal, Virginia Woolf would be unstoppable!

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” 1929

Anastacia Elizabeth Walden

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