“When you arrived at their house”, Cecil Summersdale, Woolf’s nephew, recalls, “she would ask you about your journey and she wanted every detail. Tell me about the people in the carriage’.” It was the novelist’s search for copy, ideas.” Woolf’s body of work expands far beyond her most famous novels, and her genre-bending bibliography includes essays, short stories, drama, fake biographies, diaries and even children’s books.
But the author was also inspired by the more mundane aspects of the everyday.
Her diaries and correspondence reveal a passionate, humorous young woman who loved a “debauch of gossip” with her friends.
Although she writes about it in her non-fiction essays , the incident was minimised and questioned by her early biographers.
Only recently have researchers started studying her works to know more about how she dealt with her experience as an incest survivor.
She never actually went to school and learned everything she knew from her parents and their friends and, of course, books.
Woolf’s parents – a famous author and model – raised her in a literate, well-connected household in Kensington that was frequented by notable thinkers and artists of the time.“I could fill pages remembering one thing after another that made the summer at St Ives the best beginning to a life conceivable,” she noted.Amid the wild landscape was Talland House, the holiday home with views of the Porthminster beach and the lighthouse that would later be the setting for her novels often referred to as the St Ives Trilogy, , in which the author’s family is recreated under pseudonyms and the lighthouse is based on Godrevy Lighthouse, outside Talland House. A century later and the British author would be known as one of the most prolific names to ever grace the literary world.However, Woolf’s writing wasn’t as widely acclaimed and studied until nearly 50 years after many of her novels were published.As a new exhibition opens at the Tate St Ives featuring the work of artists inspired by her writing, we gather the quotes that tell the story of the author’s life and brilliant way of seeing the world.Virginia Woolf was insatiably curious and prided herself on being an autodidact.In 1904, when Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell moved to central London, they formed the Bloomsbury Group, or Bloomsberries, a tight-knit, loosely connected network of artists, writers and intellectuals that would meet weekly at the siblings’ Bloomsbury home.As an author, Woolf sourced her material from a variety of places including her friends’ expertise, whose interests covered everything from psychology, painting or economics.She experienced repeated breakdowns and attempted suicide on various occasions.Throughout the 30 years of her adult writing life, she suffered from periodical illnesses in which physical symptoms – fevers, headaches, insomnia – seemed inextricably entwined with mental symptoms.