On what would have been her 136th birthday, Virginia Woolf is being celebrated as the Jan. 24, 2018 Google Doodle. Here’s everything to know about her!
1. How was she educated? By growing up with a father who was an editor, critic and biographer, Virignia Woolf had a literary background from the time she was a child. She was exposed to classic and English literature by family and friends, but began experiencing personal tragedy in 1895 after the death of her mother and, two years later, death of her half-sister. Still, she attended classes in the Ladies’ Department of King’s College from 1897-1901, which is where she was exposed to some of reformers of women’s higher education. In the mid 1900s, she moved to Bloomsbury, which is where she came in contact with the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of writers and artists who she became involved with.
2. Career information. Virginia started writing professionally in 1900, and eventually became central to the Bloomsbury Group. Her first work was published in 1904, and her first novel came out the year after that. Throughout her career, she wrote works of fiction, non-fiction, short stories, biographies and autobiographies. She is remembered as a pioneer in using stream of consciousness as a writing device. She was also an advocate for feminism, and many of her works focused on feminist and lesbian themes. Virginia and her husband (see below) founded the publishing company Hogarth Press, which published most of her works .
3. She had a history of nervous breakdowns. Beginning in her teens, after she lost her mother and half-sister in the span of two years, Virginia began experiencing periodic nervous breakdowns. When her father died in 1904, she was briefly institutionalized, and throughout the rest of her life, she was subject to mood swings and related illnesses. In 1910, 1912 and 1913, she spent time in a nursing home to treat her nervous disorder. It’s been suggested that these breakdowns may also have been related to alleged sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her half-brothers.
4. What was her relationship history? Virginia married Leonard Woolf on Aug. 10, 1912. Aside from a personal life together, Virginia and Leonard also worked together professionally. They were together until the time of her death in 1941.
5. How did she die? In the late 1930s, Virginia began experiencing terrible episodes of depression. It got to to the point where she could no longer work, and as World War II began, it became clear in Virginia’s diary that she was becoming obsessed with death. She drowned herself in March 1941 by stuffing her pockets with stones and walking into a river. It took three weeks to find her body. In her suicide note, she told her husband she was “going mad” and hearing voices in that made it impossible to concentrate.
HollywoodLifers, what were you most surprised to learn about Virginia?!