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Virginia Woolf quotes (85)

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   Category:

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   Category:

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

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   Category:

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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   Category:

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   Category:

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   Category:

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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   Category:

Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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   Category:

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

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

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   Category:

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   Category:

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

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   Category:

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   Category:

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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   Category:

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

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   Category:

It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

It is far more difficult to murder a phantom than a reality.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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

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

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   Category:

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   Category:

Language is wine upon the lips.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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   Category:

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   Category:

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

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.
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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   Category:

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?
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Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.
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Nothing induces me to read a novel except when I have to make money by writing about it. I detest them.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
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On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.
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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   Category:

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people's throats - and one always secretes too much jelly.
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One likes people much better when they're battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.
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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.
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Really I don't like human nature unless all candied over with art.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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

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   Category:

That great Cathedral space which was childhood.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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

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   Category:

The connection between dress and war is not far to seek; your finest clothes are those you wear as soldiers.
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The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
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The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
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The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.
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The poet gives us his essence, but prose takes the mold of the body and mind.
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The telephone, which interrupts the most serious conversations and cuts short the most weighty observations, has a romance of its own.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.
Virginia Woolf   Category:

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   Category:

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   Category:

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   Category:

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   Category:

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