When someone asks me about women who have made a profound impact in the world of literature, Virginia Woolf is one of those authors whose name instantly comes to mind.
From first reading Mrs. Dalloway in college to then moving on to A Room of One’s Own, and To The Lighthouse when I was older, Woolf has been an exceptional figure in literature, her name now synonymous to the technique known as stream of consciousness - a method that attempts to give the written equivalent of the character's thought processes, either in a monologue, or in connection to the character's actions. To honour the British literary figure, Google doodle celebrated what would have been Woolf's 136th birthday.
Born in Kensington, London, and having been home-schooled for most of her life, Woolf started writing professionally in 1900, and even after her death, became a central figure of 1970s feminist movement. Her work received critical acclaim during her lifetime, which also inspired the work of other renowned authors, including Gabriel García Márquez, and Margaret Atwood.
In her personal life, however, Woolf experience several recurring episodes of mental illness, and committed suicide in 1941.
Here are some of the most beautiful quotes by the author to celebrate womanhood, and to always cherish the spirit of feminism in our lives.
1. Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.
2. Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people
6. As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.
7. The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity
8. 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.
9. As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.
10. To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries.
Happy birthday, Ms. Woolf!
Images: Wikipedia, Google