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50 Best Virginia Woolf Quotes, Sayings & Quotations

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Popular Virginia Woolf Quotes

Language is wine upon the lips.

A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.

A masterpiece is something said once and for all, stated, finished, so that it’s there complete in the mind, if only at the back.

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

Almost any biographer, if he respects facts, can give us much more than another fact to add to our collection. He can give us the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and engenders.

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.

As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.

Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic.

Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.

Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible.

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.

For what Harley Street specialist has time to understand the body, let alone the mind or both in combination, when he is a slave to thirteen thousand a year?

Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do.

Great Virginia Woolf Quotes

Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.

I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.

I read the book of Job last night, I don’t think God comes out well in it.

I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.

I want the concentration and the romance, and the worlds all glued together, fused, glowing: have no time to waste any more on prose.

I was in a queer mood, thinking myself very old: but now I am a woman again – as I always am when I write.

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

If one could be friendly with women, what a pleasure – the relationship so secret and private compared with relations with men. Why not write about it truthfully?

If we help an educated man’s daughter to go to Cambridge are we not forcing her to think not about education but about war? – not how she can learn, but how she can fight in order that she might win the same advantages as her brothers?

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

Best Virginia Woolf Quotes

If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or ‘our’ country, let it be understood soberly and rationally between us that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits where I have not shared and probably will not share.

Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

It is curious how instinctively one protects the image of oneself from idolatry or any other handling that could make it ridiculous, or too unlike the original to be believed any longer.

It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.

It is far more difficult to murder a phantom than a reality.

It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple: one must be a woman manly, or a man womanly.

It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.

It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.

It seems as if an age of genius must be succeeded by an age of endeavour; riot and extravagance by cleanliness and hard work.

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.

Let a man get up and say, Behold, this is the truth, and instantly I perceive a sandy cat filching a piece of fish in the background. Look, you have forgotten the cat, I say.

Best Virginia Woolf Quotes

Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.

Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.

Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.

Mental fight means thinking against the current, not with it. It is our business to puncture gas bags and discover the seeds of truth.

My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery – always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?

Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.

Nothing induces me to read a novel except when I have to make money by writing about it. I detest them.

Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.

On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.

Great Virginia Woolf Quotes

Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people’s throats – and one always secretes too much jelly.

One likes people much better when they’re battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.

One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.

Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art.

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