Virginia Woolf’s Fascination with the Titanic

After the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, Virginia Woolf developed a fascination with the disaster and even toyed with the idea of writing about it. According to How to Survive the Titanic, a book about the chairman of the White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, Virginia wrote a letter to her friend Katherine Cox … Read more

Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey

Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey were writers, lifelong friends and members of the Bloomsbury Group. The two met sometime around 1904 when Virginia and her siblings moved into a new house in the Bloomsbury District of London. Virginia’s older brother, Thoby, began inviting his Trinity college friends, including Lytton Stratchey, to the house for parties … Read more

Virginia Woolf’s Experiences in World War II

Virginia Woolf was not only a prolific writer but she was a also a witness to many historic events in the early 20th century, including World War II and the Battle of Britain. Being a detailed diary keeper, Virginia often recorded her experiences in her diaries and letters. This gives us a unique opportunity to … Read more

Virginia Woolf’s Family

Virginia Woolf came from a large and artistic family. Woolf was born under her maiden name Virginia Stephen in London in 1882. Virginia’s parents were Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson. She had three full siblings and four half-siblings from her parent’s previous marriages: Full Siblings: Vanessa Stephen (1879-1961) Adrian Stephen (1883-1948) Thoby Stephen (1880-1906) … Read more

Famous Literary Suicides

Suicide has claimed the lives of too many writers over the years. From Ernest Hemingway to Anne Sexton, many talented writers struggled with depression and mental illness but sadly lost their battle. Many talented writers share a history of mental illness and suicidal tendencies. Either due to the effects of old age or lingering childhood … Read more

Virginia Woolf and the Dreadnought Hoax

The Dreadnought Hoax was a practical joke that Virginia Woolf and her friends played on the British Navy in 1910 when they disguised themselves as Abyssinian princes and convinced the navy to give them a private tour of Britain’s flagship, the H.M.S. Dreadnought. The prank occurred in February of 1910, when the group of friends, … Read more

Virginia Woolf’s Connection to Marie Antoinette

Although Virginia Woolf was a well-known Englishwoman, her family had a surprising connection to French aristocracy. Woolf had French roots on her mother’s side of the family and was a direct descendant of one of Marie Antoinette’s personal attendants, a man named Chevalier Pierre Ambrose Antoine de L’Etang. Woolf was De L’Etang’s great-great granddaughter. Born … Read more

Virginia Woolf’s Suicide Note

When Virginia Woolf died by suicide on March 28, 1941, she left behind three suicide notes, two for her husband Leonard and one for her sister, Vanessa. The notes provide some insight into Virginia’s possible motives for suicide and shed some light on her mental sate at the time. Virginia’s Notes to Leonard Woolf: Virginia … Read more

Virginia Woolf on Henry David Thoreau

In July of 1917, Virginia Woolf wrote an article commemorating the 100th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth for the Times Literary Supplement. Woolf was an admirer of American writers like Thoreau and felt American writers were more inventive and adventurous than any British writer to date. What is interesting about this essay is that, … Read more