It is the 135th birthday anniversary of Virginia Woolf. Unprecedentedly, one of the most famous female writers of all time, she was at the forefront of the modernist movement which took ‘a distinctive break from the Victorian bourgeois morality and rejected the 19th-century optimism. Thus, distinctly shifting the literary forms of that time’. Her books and essays characterized ‘the movement’s stream of consciousness style, interior perspectives, and abandonment of a linear narrative’.
A thoroughly talented writer, Virginia Woolf was a groundbreaker in her field and her books are a must for those who want to explore 20th-century literature. She crafted an impressive body of work, fleeting assessments of her life, writing books which gave prominence to her personal battles and eventual suicide. A deeper look into prolific novellas reveal her side as a committed pacifist, a second wave feminist way before its time and someone who inspires us to this day. Her name sparks memories of our high school reading list: Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and A Room of One’s Own, among her most famous. Or we may even have powerful visions of her famous demise: a mentally troubled writer placing heavy stones in her pockets and walking into a river to end her life. We honor and relive her legacy in these soulful sayings:
1. Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
2. These are the soul’s changes. I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism.
3. The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent, and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness.
4. Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title.
5. If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
6. The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
7. The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
8. Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
9. 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.
10. As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.