Quotes by Virginia Woolf

quotes by Virginia Woolf

Best 847 Quotes by Virginia Woolf

once conform once d quote by virginia woolf

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)
life is not a series quote by virginia woolf

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)
one cannot think wel quote by virginia woolf

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)
fiction is like a sp quote by virginia woolf

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)
the beauty of the wo quote by virginia woolf

The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Who shall measure the hat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

This is not writing at all. Indeed, I could say that Shakespeare surpasses literature altogether, if I knew what I meant.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The connection between dress and war is not far to seek; your finest clothes are those you wear as soldiers.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The telephone, which interrupts the most serious conversations and cuts short the most weighty observations, has a romance of its own.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

You send a boy to school in order to make friends - the right sort.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The poet gives us his essence, but prose takes the mold of the body and mind.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Thought and theory must precede all salutary action; yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The war has put its skeleton fingers even into our pockets.(pg:40)

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

But the stillness and the brightness of the day were as strange as the chaos and tumult of night, with the trees standing there, and the flowers standing there, looking before them, looking up, yet beholding nothing, eyeless, and so terrible.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

it struck her, this was tragedy-- not palls, dust, and the shroud; but children coerced, their spirits subdued.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She came from the most worthless of classes - the rich, with a smattering of culture.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, 'Consume me'.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

When the body escaped mutilation, seldom did the heart go to the grave unscarred.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

So that is marriage, Lily thought, a man and a woman looking at a girl throwing a ball

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

With twice his wits, she had to see things through his eyes -- one of the tragedies of married life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She was married, true; but if one's husband was always sailing round Cape Horn, was it marriage? If one liked him, was it marriage? If one liked other people, was it marriage? And finally, if one still wished, more than anything in the whole world, to write poetry, was it marriage? She had her doubts.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For in marriage a little licence, a little independence there mustbe between people living together day in day out in the same house; which Richard gave her, and shehim.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Let him be fifty feet away, let him not even speak to you, let him not even see you, he permeated, he prevailed, he imposed himself. He changed everything.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The green garden, moonlit pool, lemons, lovers, and fish are all dissolved in the opal sky, across which, as the horns are joined by trumpets and supported by clarions there rise white arches firmly planted on marble pillars...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I ride rough waters, and shall sink with no one to save me.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Thus the British Empire came into existence; and thus - for there is no stopping damp; it gets into the inkpot as it gets into the woodwork - sentences swelled, adjectives multiplied, lyrics became epics, and little trifles that had been essays a column long were now encyclopaedias in ten or twenty volumes."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Possibly when the professor insisted a little too emphatically upon the inferiority of women, he was concerned not with their inferiority, but with his own superiority. That was what he was protecting rather hot-headedly and with too much emphasis, because it was a jewel to him of the rarest price."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware of [two] facts: first, that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness; second, that there are twenty-five elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult to the chastity of their aunts."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She felt as if things were moving past her as she lay stretched on the bed under the single sheet. But it's not landscape any longer, she thought; it's people's lives, their changing lives."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She heard some voice saying she couldn't paint, saying she couldn't create, as if she were caught up in one of those habitual currents in which after a certain time experience forms in the mind, so that one repeats words without being aware any longer who originally spoke them."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Our friends - how distant, how mute, how seldom visited and little known. AndI, too, am dim to my friends and unknown; a phantom, sometimes seen, oftennot. Life is a dream surely."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Women's rights, that antediluvian topic."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Despairing of human relationships (people were so difficult), she often went into her garden and got from her flowers a peace which men and women never gave her."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I walk making up phrases; sit, contriving scenes; am in short in the thick of the greatest rapture known to me."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A thing there was that mattered; a thing, wreathed about with chatter, defaced, obscured in her own life, let drop every day in corruption, lies, chatter. This he had preserved. Death was defiance. Death was an attempt to communicate; people feeling the impossibility of reaching the centre which, mystically, evaded them; closeness drew apart; rapture faded, one was alone. There was an embrace in death."

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I'm terrified of passive acquiescence. I live in intensity.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I will not be "famous," "great." I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

These are the soul's changes. I don't believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one's aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I will achieve in my life - Heaven grant that it be not long - some gigantic amalgamation between the two discrepancies so hideously apparent to me. Out of my suffering I will do it. I will knock. I will enter.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet. . . indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And again she felt alone in the presence of her old antagonist, life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Novels so often provide an anodyne and not an antidote, glide one into torpid slumbers instead of rousing one with a burning brand.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Green in nature is one thing, green in literature another. Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to pieces.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Our apparitions, the things you know us by, are simply childish. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Moreover, a book is not made of sentences laid end to end, but of sentences built, if an image helps, into arcades or domes.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Better was it to go unknown and leave behind you an arch, then to burn like a meteor and leave no dust.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

He lay on his chair with his hands clasped above his paunch not reading, or sleeping, but basking like a creature gorged with existence.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Women have burnt like beacons in all the works of all the poets from the beginning of time.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I was always going to the bookcase for another sip of the divine specific.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Tom's great yellow bronze mask all draped upon an iron framework. An inhibited, nerve-drawn; dropped face - as if hung on a scaffold of heavy private brooding; and thought.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Safe! safe! safe!' the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry 'Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

That great Cathedral space which was childhood.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I prefer men to cauliflowers

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Finally, I would thank, had I not lost his name and address, a gentleman in America, who has generously and gratuitously corrected the punctuation, the botany, the entomology, the geography, and the chronology of previous works of mine and will, I hope, not spare his services on the present occasion.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

. . . clumsiness is often mated with a love of solitude.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Distorted realities have always been my cup of tea.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

What is meant by reality? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable - now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For this is the truth about our soul, he thought, who fish-like inhabits deep seas and plies among obscurities threading her way between the boles of giant weeds, over sun-flickered spaces and on and on into gloom, cold, deep, inscrutable; suddenly she shoots to the surface and sports on the wind-wrinkled waves; that is, has a positive need to brush, scrape, kindle herself, gossiping.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

[Final diary entry:] Occupation is essential. And now with some pleasure I find that it's seven; and must cook dinner. Haddock and sausage meat. I think it is true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I grow numb; I grow stiff. How shall I break up this numbness which discredits my sympathetic heart?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Now begins to rise in me the familiar rhythm; words that have lain dormant now lift, now toss their crests, and fall and rise, and falls again. I am a poet, yes. Surely I am a great poet.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Fatigue is the safest sleeping draught.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The mind which is most capable of receiving impressions is very often the least capable of drawing conclusions.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I like books whose virtue is all drawn together in a page or two. I like sentences that don't budge though armies cross them.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The word-coining genius, as if thought plunged into a sea of words and came up dripping.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

We agreed that people are now afraid of the English language. He [T.S. Eliot] said it came of being bookish, but not reading books enough. One should read all styles thoroughly.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The interest in life does not lie in what people do, nor even in their relations to each other, but largely in the power to communicate with a third party, antagonistic, enigmatic, yet perhaps persuadable, which one may call life in general.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I believe that the main thing in beginning a novel is to feel, not that you can write it, but that it exists on the far side of a gulf, which words can't cross: that it's to be pulled through only in a breathless anguish.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Am I alone in my egotism when I say that never does the pale light of dawn filter through the blinds of 52 Tavistock Square but I open my eyes and exclaim, "Good God! Here I am again!" not always with pleasure, often with pain; sometimes in a spasm.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

We can best help you to prevent war not by repeating your words and following your methods but by finding new words and creating new methods.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Inevitably we look upon society, so kind to you, so harsh to us, as an ill-fitting form that distorts the truth; deforms the mind; fetters the will.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Indeed, I thought, slipping the silver into my purse, it is remarkable, remembering the bitterness of those days, what a change of temper a fixed income will bring about.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A whole lifetime was too short to bring out, the full flavour; to extract every ounce of pleasure, every shade of meaning.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The compensation of growing old ... was simply this; that the passion remains as strong as ever, but one has gained -- at last! -- the power which adds the supreme flavour to existence -- the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it round, slowly, in the light.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

What greater delight and wonder can there be than to leave the straight lines of personality and deviate into these footpaths that lead beneath brambles and thick tree trunks into the heart of the forest where live those wild beasts, our fellow men? That is true: to escape is the greatest of pleasures; street haunting in winter the greatest of adventures.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Different though the sexes are, they inter-mix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is very opposite of what it is above.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

If we didn't live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I've no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

It was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen's day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex. And how small a part of woman's life is that ...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

It is useless to read Greek in translation; translators can but offer us a vague equivalent.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... like all very handsome men who die tragically, he left not so much a character behind him as a legend. Youth and death shed a halo through which it is difficult to see a real face ...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have- to want and want- how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again!

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The hatchet must fall on the block; the oak must be cleft to the centre. The weight of the world is on my shoulders. Here is the pen and the paper; on the letters in the wire basket I sign my name, I, I, and again I.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

It is no use trying to sum people up. One must follow hints, not exactly what is said, nor yet entirely what is done.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

He began to search among the infinite series of impressions which time had laid down, leaf upon leaf, fold upon fold softly, incessantly upon his brain; among scents, sounds; voices, harsh, hollow, sweet; and lights passing, and brooms tapping; and the wash and hush of the sea.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I am volatile for one, rigid for another, angular as an icicle in silver, or voluptuous as a candle flame in gold.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

At last she shut the book sharply, lay back, and drew a deep breath, expressive of the wonder which always marks the transition from the imaginary world to the real world.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The real novelist, the perfectly simple human being, could go on, indefinitely imaging.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For such will be our ruin if you, in the immensity of your public abstractions, forget the private figure, or if we in the intensity of our private emotions forget the public world. Both houses will be ruined, the public and the private, the material and the spiritual, for they are inseparably connected.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I have lost friends, some by death...others by sheer inability to cross the street.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond the daily life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

for it was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Intellectual freedom depends upon material things.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The sigh of all the seas breaking in measure round the isles soothed them; the night wrapped them; nothing broke their sleep, until, the birds beginning and the dawn weaving their thin voices in to its whiteness

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I got out this diary and read, as one always reads one's own writing; with a kind of guilty intensity.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

King old ladies assure us that cats are often the best judges of character. A cat will always to to a good man, they say.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

One should be a painter. As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The intellect, divine as it is, and all worshipful, has a habit of lodging in the most seedy of carcasses, and often, alas, acts the cannibal among the other faculties so that often, where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Language is wine upon the lips.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

But when the self speaks to the self, who is speaking? The entombed soul, the spirit driven in, in, in to the central catacomb; the self that took the veil and left the world -- a coward perhaps, yet somehow beautiful, as it flits with its lantern restlessly up and down the dark corridors.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Madness is terrific I can assure you, and not to be sniffed at; and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets, as sanity does.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigues, I have had my vision.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

You have a touch in letter writing that is beyond me. Something unexpected, like coming round a corner in a rose garden and finding it still daylight.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. 'Tis the waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

He looked very old. He looked, James thought, getting his head now against the Lighthouse, now against the waste of waters running away into the open, like some old stone lying on the sand; he looked as if he had become physically what was always at the back of both of their minds-that loneliness which was for both of them the truth about things.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

in marriage a little licence, a little independence there must be between people living together day in and day out in the same house ...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Come indoors then, and open the books on your library shelves. For you have a library and a good one. A working library, a living library; a library where nothing is chained down and nothing is locked up; a library where the songs of the singers rise naturally from the lives of the livers.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

One cannot bring children into a world like this. One cannot perpetuate suffering, or increase the breed of these lustful animals, who have no lasting emotions, but only whims and vanities, eddying them now this way, now that.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For it is a curious fact that though human beings have such imperfect means of communication, that they can only say 'good to eat' when they mean 'beautiful' and the other way about, they will yet endure ridicule and misunderstanding rather than keep any experience to themselves.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Melancholy were the sounds on a winter's night.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

But I don't think of the future, or the past, I feast on the moment. This is the secret of happiness, but only reached now in middle age.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Middlemarch, the magnificent book which with all its imperfections is one of the few English novels for grown-up people.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Brooding, she changed the pool into the sea, and made the minnows into sharks and whales, and cast vast clouds over this tiny world by holding her hand against the sun, and so brought darkness and desolation, like God himself, to millions of ignorant and innocent creatures, and then took her hand away suddenly and let the sun stream down.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

so that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked, and then, as she moved and took Minta's arm and left the room, it changed, it shaped itself differently; it had become, she knew, giving one last look at it over her shoulder, already the past.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

But how entirely I live in my imagination; how completely depend upon spurts of thought, coming as I walk, as I sit; things churning up in my mind and so making a perpetual pageant, which is to be my happiness.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For there is a virtue in truth; it has an almost mystic power. Like radium, it seems to give off forever and ever grains of energy, atoms of light.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

If this were the time or the place to uphold a paradox, I am half inclined to state that Norfolk is one of the most beautiful of counties.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I have made up thousands of stories; I have filled innumerable notebooks with phrases to be used when I have found the true story, the one story to which all these phrases refer. But I have never yet found the story. And I begin to ask, Are there stories?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The first duty of a lecturer: to hand you after an hour's discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks, and keep on the mantelpiece forever.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

He called her a melon, a pineapple, an olive tree, an emerald, and a fox in the snow all in the space of three seconds; he did not know whether he had heard her, tasted her, seen her, or all three together.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For if Chloe likes Olivia and Mary Carmichael knows how to express it she will light a torch in that vast chamber where nobody has yet been.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

They all dreamt of each other that night, as was natural, considering how thin the partitions were between them, and how strangely they had been lifted off the earth to sit next each other in mid-ocean, and see every detail of each others' faces, and hear whatever they chanced to say.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

As for my next book, I won't write it till it has grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Above all you must illumine your own soul with its profundities and its shallows, and its vanities and its generosities, and say what your beauty means to you or your plainness, and what is your relation to the ever-changing and turning world.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Peace was the third emotion. Love. Hate. Peace. Three emotions made the ply of human life.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For once the disease of reading has laid upon the system it weakens so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

We are nauseated by the sight of trivial personalities decomposing in the eternity of print.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

How remorseless life is!

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I see nothing. We may sink and settle on the waves. The sea will drum in my ears. The white petals will be darkened with sea water. They will float for a moment and then sink. Rolling over the waves will shoulder me under. Everything falls in a tremendous shower, dissolving me.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I am to be broken. I am to be derided all my life. I am to be cast up and down among these men and women, with their twitching faces, with their lying tongues, like a cork on a rough sea. Like a ribbon of weed I am flung far every time the door opens.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I sincerely hope I'll never fathom you. You're mystical, serene, intriguing; you enclose such charm within you. The lustre of your presence bewitches me. I like the unreality of your mind; the whole thing is very splendid and voluptuous and absurd. It is not mere words on paper, Mrs. Nicholson, it is both my mind and heart addressing you.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

But beauty was not everything. Beauty had this penalty - it came too readily, came too completely. It stilled life - froze it. One forgot the little agitations; the flush, the pallor, some queer distortion, some light or shadow, which made the face unrecognisable for a moment and yet added quality one saw for ever after. It was simpler to smooth that all out under the cover of beauty.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

How readily our thoughts swarm upon a new object, lifting it a little way, as ants carry a blade of straw so feverishly, and then leave it.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

They lack suggestive power. And when a book lacks suggestive power, however hard it hits the surface of the mind it cannot penetrate within.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Untuk menikmati kebebasan kita harus mengendalikan diri sendiri.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

When she looked in the glass and saw her hair grey her cheek sunk, at fifty, she thought, possibly she might have managed things better--her husband; money; his books. But for her own part she would never for a single second regret her decision, evade difficulties, or slur over duties

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The good citizen when he opens his door in the evening must be banker, golfer, husband, father; not a nomad wandering the desert, a mystic staring at the sky, a debauchee in the slums of San Francisco, a soldier heading a revolution, a pariah howling with skepticism and solitude.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Her eyes were full of a hot liquid (she did not think of tears at first) which, without disturbing the firmness of her lips, made the air thick, rolled down her cheeks. She had perfect control of herself-Oh, yes!-in every other way.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

They came to her, naturally, since she was a woman, all day long with this and that; one wanting this, another that; the children were growing up; she often felt she was nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotions.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

What is nobler," she mused, turning over the photographs, "than to be a woman to whom every one turns, in sorrow or difficulty?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Well, we must wait for the future to show.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And the poem, I think, is only your voice speaking.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

It is strange how a scrap of poetry works in the mind and makes the legs move in time to it along the road.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Human beings have neither kindness, nor faith, nor charity beyond what serves to increase the pleasure of the moment.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I do not believe that gifts, whether of mind or character, can be weighed like sugar and butter

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Kind old ladies assure us that cats are often the best judges of character. A cat will always go to a good man, they say[.]

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Buy for me from the King's own kennels, the finest elk hounds of the Royal strain, male and female. Bring them back without delay. For," he murmured, scarcely above his breath as he turned to his books, "I have done with men.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

His immense self-pity, his demand for sympathy poured and spread itself in pools at their feet, and all she did, miserable sinner that she was, was to draw her skirts a little closer round her ankles, lest she should get wet.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I am not one and simple, but complex and many.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I spent an hour looking at pots and carpets in the museums the other day, until the desire to describe them became like the desire for the lusts of the flesh.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I desired always to stretch the night and fill it fuller and fuller with dreams.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

So the being grows rings; identity becomes robust. What was fiery and furtive like a fling of grain cast into the air and blown hither and thither by wild gusts of life from every quarter is now methodical and orderly and flung with a purpose--so it seems.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And the supreme mystery was simply this: here was one room; there another. Did religion solve that, or love?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

To let oneself be carried on passively is unthinkable.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The most important thing is not to think very much about oneself. To investigate candidly the charge; but not fussily, not very anxiously. On no account to retaliate by going to the other extreme -- thinking too much.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

. . . distant views seemed to outlast by a million years (Lily thought) the gazer and to be communing already with a sky which beholds an earth entirely at rest.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

If you drink the good wine of the noble countess, you have to entertain her less desirable friends.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I'm never not thinking of you.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Love, the poet said, is woman's whole existence.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

What does the brain matter compared with the heart?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

How then did it work out, this? How did one judge people, think of them? How did one add up this and that and conclude that it was liking one felt, or disliking?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Perhaps then one reason why we have no great poet, novelist or critic writing today is that we refuse to allow words their liberty. We pin them down to one meaning, their useful meaning: the meaning which makes us catch the train, the meaning which makes us pass the examination.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Chastity ... has, even now, a religious importance in a woman's life, and has so wrapped itself round with nerves and instincts that to cut it free and bring it to the light of day demands courage of the rarest.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Like" and "like" and "like"--but what is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed illusion and put truth in it's place?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For it is probable that when people talk aloud, the selves (of which there may be more than two thousand) are conscious of disserverment, and are trying to communicate but when communication is established there is nothing more to be said.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For if it is rash to walk into a lion's den unarmed, rash to navigate the Atlantic in a rowing boat, rash to stand on one foot on top of St. Paul's, it is still more rash to go home alone with a poet.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

To love makes one solitary.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Sometimes I think heaven must be one continuous unexhausted reading.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Let us not take it for granted that life exists more in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Gently the waves would break (Lily heard them in her sleep); tenderly the light fell (it seemed to come through her eyelids). And it all looked, Mr. Carmichael thought, shutting his book, falling asleep, much as it used to look years ago.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

He would argue with her about killing themselves; and explain how wicked people were; how he could see them making up lies as they passed in the street. He knew all their thoughts, he said; he knew everything. He knew the meaning of the world, he said.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Indeed there has never been any explanation of the ebb and flow in our veins--of happiness and unhappiness.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

But Sasha was from Russia, where the sunsets are longer, the dawns less sudden and sentences are often left unfinished from doubt as how to best end them.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

For ourselves, who are ordinary men and women, let us return thanks to Nature for her bounty by using every one of the senses she has given us.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of treesand changing leaves.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Life stand still here.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Tell me", he wanted to say, "everything in the whole world" - for he had the wildest, most absurd, extravagant ideas about poets and poetry - but how to speak to a man who does not see you? who sees ogres, satyrs, perhaps the depth of the sea instead?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Illness is a part of every human being's experience. It enhances our perceptions and reduces self-consciousness. It is the great confessional; things are said, truths are blurted out which health conceals.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... the public and the private worlds are inseparably connected ... the tyrannies and servilities of the one are the tyrannies and servilities of the other.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

O friendship, I too will press flowers between the pages of Shakespeare's sonnets!

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I begin to long for some little language such as lovers use, broken words, inarticulate words, like the shuffling of feet on pavement.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Publicity in women is detestable. Anonymity runs in their blood. The desire to be veiled still possesses them. They are not even now as concerned about the health of their fame as men are, and, speaking generally, will pass a tombstone or a signpost without feeling an irresistible desire to cut their names on it.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

It would be a thousand pities if women wrote like men, or lived like men, or looked like men, for if two sexes are quite inadequate, considering the vastness and variety of the world, how should we manage with one only? Ought not education to bring out and fortify the differences rather than the similarities?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I worship you, but I loathe marriage. I hate its smugness, its safety, its compromise and the thought of you interfering with my work, hindering me; what would you answer?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

You would get longer livelier and more frequent letters from me, if it weren't for the Christian religion. How that bell tolling at the end of the garden, dum dum, dum dum, annoys me! Why is Christianity so insistent and so sad?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

When the shriveled skin of the ordinary is stuffed out with meaning, it satisfies the senses amazingly.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Dance music ... stirs some barbaric instinct - lulled asleep in our sober lives - you forget centuries of civilization in a second, & yield to that strange passion which sends you madly whirling round the room.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Men felt a chill in their hearts; a damp in their minds. In a desperate effort to snuggle their feelings into some sort of warmth,one subterfuge was tried after anothersentences swelled, adjectives multiplied, lyrics became epics.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I feel certain that I'm going mad again, I feel we can't go thru another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The only advice ... that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

There can be no two opinions as to what a highbrow is. He is the man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The taste for books was an early one. As a child he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading. They took his taper away, and he bred glow-worms to serve his purpose. They took the glow-worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinder.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The most extraordinary thing about writing is that when you've struck the right vein, tiredness goes. It must be an effort, thinking wrong.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

When people are happy they have a reserve upon which to draw, whereas she was like a wheel without a tyre

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

We are cut, we are fallen. We are become part of that unfeeling universe that sleeps when we are at our quickest and burns red when we lie asleep.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I like the unreality of your mind; the whole thing is very splendid and voluptuous and absurd.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Women and fiction remain, so far as I am concerned, unsolved problems.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

She dares me to pour myself out like a living waterfall. She dares me to enter the soul that is more than my own; she extinguishes fear in mere seconds. She lets light come through.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter's evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Needless to say, the business of living interferes with the solitude so needed for any work of the imagination. Here's what Virginia Woolf said in her diary about the sticky issue: "I've shirked two parties, and another Frenchman, and buying a hat, and tea with Hilda Trevelyan, for I really can't combine all this with keeping all my imaginary people going.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

I am obsessed at nights with the idea of my own worthlessness, and if it were only to turn a light on to save my life I think I would not do it. These are the last footprints of a headache I suppose. Do you ever feel that? - like an old weed in a stream. What do you feel, lying in bed?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

What has praise and fame to do with poetry? Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice? So that all this chatter and praise, and blame and meeting people who admired one and meeting people who did not admire one was as ill suited as could be to the thing itself- a voice answering a voice.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

To depend upon a profession is a less odious form of slavery than to depend upon a father.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Somewhere, everywhere, now hidden, now apparent in what ever is written down, is the form of a human being. If we seek to know him, are we idly occupied?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

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.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

The beautiful seems right by force of beauty, and the feeble wrong because of weakness.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

. . . to walk alone in London is the greatest rest.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... I doubt the capacity of the human animal for being dignified in ceremony.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst, she would undoubtedly bid us to break her and bullyher, as well as honour and love her, for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... it's been a perpetual discovery, my life. A miracle.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... pure honesty is a doubtful quality; it means often lack of imagination.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... the random talk of people who have no chance of immortality and thus can speak their minds out has a setting, often, of lights, streets, houses, human beings, beautiful or grotesque, which will weave itself into the moment for ever.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... the transaction between a writer and the spirit of the age is one of infinite delicacy, and upon a nice arrangement between the two the whole fortune of his works depend.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

... why do people who live in the country always give themselves such airs?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...But beauty must be broken daily to remain beautiful...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...she felt, with her hand on the nursery door, that community of feeling with other people which emotion gives as if the walls of partition had become so thin that practically (the feeling was one of relief and happiness) it was all one stream...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...she took her hand and raised her brush. For a moment it stayed trembling in a painful but exciting ecstacy in the air. Where to begin?--that was the question at what point to make the first mark? One line placed on the canvas committed her to innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately complex; as the waves shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by steep gulfs, and foaming crests. Still the risk must run; the mark made.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...so now, Mrs. Ramsay thought, she could return to that dream land, that unreal but fascinating place, the Manning's drawing-room at Marlow twenty years ago; where one moved about without haste or anxiety, for there was no future to worry about. She knew what had happened to them, what to her. It was like reading a good book again, for she knew the end of that story, since it had happened twenty years ago, and life, which shot down even from this dining-room table in cascades, heaven knows where, was sealed up there, and lay, like a lake, placidly between its banks.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...solitary like a pool at evening, far distant, seen from a train window, vanishing so quickly that the pool, pale in the evening, is scarcely robbed of its solitude, though once seen. *** Here sitting on the world, she thought, for she could not shake herself free from the sense that everything this morning was happening for the first time, perhaps for the last time, as a traveller, even though he is half asleep, knows, looking out of the train window, that he must look now, for he will never see that town, or that mule-cart, or that woman at work in the fields, again.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

...the problem of space remained, she thought, taking up her brush again. It glared at her. The whole mass of the picture was poised upon that weight. Beautiful and bright it should be on the surface, feathery and evanescent, one colour melting into another like the colours on a butterfly's wing; but beneath the fabric must be clamped together with bolts of iron.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

[She was singing] a senseless singsong, so that several park keepers looked at her with suspicion and were only brought to a favorable opinion of her sanity by noticing the pearl necklace she wore.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may well have as many as a thousand.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A learned man is a sedentary, concentrated solitary enthusiast, who searches through books to discover some particular grain of truth upon which he has set his heart. If the passion for reading conquers him, his gains dwindle and vanish between his fingers. A reader, on the other hand, must check the desire for learning at the outset; if knowledge sticks to him well and good, but to go in pursuit of it, to read on a system, to become a specialist or an authority, is very apt to kill what suits us to consider the more humane passion for pure and disinterested reading.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A light here required a shadow there.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A million candles burnt in him without his being at the trouble of lighting a single one

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

a novelist's chief desire is to be as unconscious as possible. He has to induce in himself a state of perpetual lethargy. He wants life to proceed with the utmost quiet and regularity. He wants to see the same faces, to read the same books, to do the same things day after day, month after month, while he is writing, so that nothing may break the illusion in which he is living - so that nothing may disturb or disquiet the mysterious nosings about, feelings around, darts, dashes, and sudden discoveries of that very shy and illusive spirit, the imagination.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A perfect treat must include a trip to a second-hand bookshop.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A strange thing has happened - while all the other arts were born naked, this, the youngest, has been born fully-clothed. It can say everything before it has anything to say. It is as if the savage tribe, instead of finding two bars of iron to play with, had found scattering the seashore fiddles, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, grand pianos by Erhard and Bechstein, and had begun with incredible energy, but without knowing a note of music, to hammer and thump upon them all at the same time.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A thousand things to be written had I time: had I power. A very little writing uses up my capacity for writing.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A veil of insanity everywhere: Oh why I was born in this age? It is a terrible age.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A very elementary exercise in psychology, not to be dignified by the name of psycho-analysis, showed me, on looking at my notebook, that the sketch of the angry professor had been made in anger. Anger had snatched my pencil while I dreamt. But what was anger doing there? Interest, confusion, amusement, boredom--all these emotions I could trace and name as they succeeded each other throughout the morning. Had anger, the black snake, been lurking among them? Yes, said the sketch, anger had.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

A writer should give direct certainty; explanations are so much water poured into the wine.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

About here, she thought, dabbling her fingers in the water, a ship had sunk, and she muttered, dreamily half asleep, how we perished, each alone.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

After all, what is a lovely phrase? One that has mopped up as much Truth as it can hold.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

After that, how unbelievable death was! - that is must end; and no one in the whole world would know how she had loved it all.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Again, somehow, one saw life, a pure bead. I lifted the pencil again, useless though I knew it to be. But even as I did so, the unmistakable tokens of death showed themselves. The body relaxed, and instantly grew stiff. The struggle was over. The insignificant little creature now knew death. As I looked at the dead moth, this minute wayside triumph of so great a force over so mean an antagonist filled me with wonder. Just as life had been strange a few minutes before, so death was now as strange.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All artists need a room of their own

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All extremes are dangerous.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All great writers have, of course, an atmosphere in which they seem most at their ease and at their best; a mood of the general mind which they interpret and indeed almost discover, so that we come to read them rather for that than for any story or character or scene of seperate excellence.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All looked distant and peaceful and strange. The shore seemed refined, far away, unreal. Already the little distance they had sailed had put them far from it and given it the changed look, the composed look, of something receding in which one has no longer any part.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All the months are crude experiments, out of which the perfect September is made.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All the time she writing the world had continued.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are sides, and it is necessary for one side to beat another side.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Alone, condemned, deserted, as those who are about to die are alone, there was a luxury in it, an isolation full of sublimity; a freedom which the attached can never know

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Am I a weed, carried this way, that way, on a tide that comes twice a day without a meaning?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Am I too fast, too facile? I do not know. I do not know myself sometimes, or how to measure and name and count out the grains that make me what I am.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Among the tortures and devestations of life is this then - our friends are not able to finish their stories.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

and even a tea party means apprehension, breakage

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And I will now rock the brown basin from side to side so that my ships may ride the waves. Some will founder. Some will dash themselves against the cliffs. One sails alone. That is my ship. It sails into icy caverns where the sea-bear barks and stalactites swing green chairs. The waves rise, their crests curl; look at the lights on the mastheads. They have scattered, they have foundered, all except my ship which mounts the wave and sweeps before the gale and reaches the islands where the parrots chatter and then the creepers...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And in me too the wave rises. It swells; it arches its back. I am aware once more of a new desire, something rising beneath me like the proud horse whose rider first spurs and then pulls him back. What enemy do we now perceive advancing against us, you whom I ride now, as we stand pawing this stretch of pavement? It is death. Death is the enemy. It is death against whom I ride with my spear couched and my hair flying back like a young man's, like Percival's, when he galloped in India. I strike spurs into my horse. Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And it was awfully strange, he thought, how she still had the power, as she came tinkling, rustling, still had the power as she came across the room, to make the moon, which he detested, rise at Bourton on the terrace in the summer sky.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And now more than anything I want beautiful prose. I relish it more and more exquisitely.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

and then he could not see her come into a room without a sense of the flowing of robes, of the flowering of blossoms, of the purple waves of the sea, of all things that are lovely and mutable on the surface but still and passionate in their heart.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And when we are writing the life of a woman, we may, it is agreed, waive our demand for action, and substitute love instead. Love, the poet has said, is a woman's whole existence...

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And yet, the only exciting life is the imaginary one.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

And you wish to be a poet; and you wish to be a lover.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Anecdote: A house that is rooted to one spot but can travel as quickly as you change your mind and is complete in itself is surely the most desirable of houses. Our modern house with its cumbersome walls and its foundations planted deep in the ground is nothing better than a prison and more and more prison like does it become the longer we live there, and wear fetters of a association and sentiment.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Are we so made that we have to take death in small doses daily or we could not go on with the business of living?

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

Art is not a copy of the real world; one of the damn things is enough.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)

As a creator of character his peculiarity is that he creates wherever his eyes rest ... With such a power at his command Dickens made his books blaze up, not by tightening the plot or sharpening the wit, but by throwing another handful of people upon the fire.

Virginia Woolf (Source: SoberSides.com)