Virginia Stephen was born in 1882 to parents who were non-conformists of the era. This is perhaps one of the reasons she too was innovative in her writings, which began when she was just a young girl. Her parents were both prominent figures in Kensington, where her father was a historian and author and her mother was a model and a nurse, both of whom had many social connections.
Virginia Stephen herself wrote from a very young age, first within her family writing a newspaper. Trauma experienced during her adolescence spurted the author into periods of depression that lasted through her lifetime. She writes about sexual abuse from her brothers in her essays that are named after her childhood home. When she was just 13 her mother died, perpetuating her into a deeper depression. It was during her education at King’s College in London she was introduced to a myriad of feminists academics who also had greatly influenced her writing as well as her education, and after her 4 years of study her father died of stomach cancer.
She was married in 1912 to Leonard Woolf and 3 years later Virginia Woolf published her first novel. Just 2 years after that, Leonard and Virginia bought a used printing press and began their own publishing company: Hogarth Press . She published several novels between 1915 and 1937, and one more that was published after her suicide in 1941. Woolf is considered a pioneer of not only modernist era writing but of feminist writing too. In 1929 A Room Of One’s Own was published, an essay that was largely based on the feminist lectures she had given at women’s colleges. Woolf uses this essay to analyze the role women have in literature, and focuses on the idea that women must have two things to be successful in literature and that is “money, and a room of one’s own,” hence the title of the essay.
The author was quite successful for a woman with such radical views in the era. Though her success in her career were great, the author still struggled with depression. When the home she shared with her husband was bombed during World War 2, Woolf could not take the tragedy and drowned herself in a stream. While she was successful during her lifetime, there was a resurgence of popularity with the author in the 1970s when their was a distinct feminist movement. As a modern author she still remains one of the most influential women in literature.
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