Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was born in London and was largely self-educated. Besides being an essayist, literary critic, short story writer, and novelist, Woolf taught at Morley College in London, and was both a newspaper and book publisher.

 

She was also active in the women's suffrage movement in England. A key Modernist writer, Woolf abandoned traditional literary approaches for an internal one, using a "stream of consciousness" technique which recorded her characters' thoughts and emotions.

 

Her novels include The Voyage Out (1915), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), and her masterpiece To the Lighthouse (1927).  She also wrote the collections of essays A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938), and the collection of stories Kew Gardens  (1919) and Monday or Tuesday (1921). After a long battle with mental illness, Woolf took her own life by drowning in Sussex, England. "The Death of the Moth" is taken from The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942).

 

After the final attack of mental illness, Woolf loaded her pockets full of stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse near her Sussex home on March 28, 1941. On her note to her husband she wrote: "I have a feeling I shall go mad. I cannot go on longer in these terrible times. I hear voices and cannot concentrate on my work. I have fought against it but cannot fight any longer. I owe all my happiness to you but cannot go on and spoil your life." The suicides of both Woolf and Sylvia Plath have much colored the interpretation of their works.