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Virginia Woolf

Writer

Born: 25 January 1882
Died: 28 March 1941 (suicide by drowning)
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: Author of A Room Of One's Own

Name at birth: Adeline Virginia Stephen

Virginia Woolf is remembered as both a feminist and a modernist whose novels often ignored traditional plots to follow the inner lives and musings of her characters. As a young woman Woolf moved with her siblings to Gordon Square, Bloomsbury. The house became a gathering place for writers, artists and intellectuals and this "Bloomsbury Group" is remembered as an incubator of modern artistic thought. She married writer and fellow Bloomsbury member Leonard Woolf in 1912, and they founded the small Hogarth Press. Her first major published work was The Voyage Out (1915); other books included Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928). Her 1929 book A Room of One's Own collected her lectures and meditations on the place of women in literature. Her diaries also have been widely reprinted. Woolf suffered from depression and fits of mental illness for much of her life, and finally committed suicide by drowning herself in the river Ouse near Sussex, England.

Extra credit: Woolf was immortalized in the title of Edward Albee's 1962 play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf... The heroine of Orlando is loosely based on Woolf's friend (and some say lover) Vita Sackville-West... Her novel Flush (1933) imagines the thoughts of a spaniel owned by Elizabeth Barrett Browning... Other members of the Bloomsbury Group included the novelist E.M. Forster, the economist John Maynard Keynes and the historian Lytton Strachey... The Hogarth Press published the first edition of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land... Orlando was made into a 1992 movie with actress Tilda Swinton in the title role... Woolf was played by Nicole Kidman in the 2002 film The Hours. Kidman won the 2003 Oscar as best actress for the role.

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