Virginia Woolf was an English novelist, critic, and essayist. She is considered one of England’s most distinguished writers and is widely recognized for works such as Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927).

Throughout her prolific career, Woolf experimented with several forms of biographical writing, composed short fictions and left behind a lifetime of brilliant letters that were sent to her family and friends. 

Sadly, it seemed that death followed everyone she loved. Virginia lost her mother when she was 13 years old, and by the time she was emerging from depression, her half sister died. In 1904, her father also passed away — Virginia couldn’t cope with the tragic events in her life and had a nervous breakdown.

Nevertheless, she found the strength to keep going and  by her mid-forties, she had established herself as an intellectual, influential writer and pioneering feminist, and earned incredible respect from the public.

Tragedy struck again as World War II was raging on. The house where she lived with her husband was destroyed during the Blitzkrieg and Virginia was terrified about what might happen to her Jewish husband if the germans would find him. Unable to live a life of despair, she committed suicide.

Here are 20 inspiring Virginia Woolf quotes on knowing oneself.

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I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.

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

The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.

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.

Each had his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart; and his friends could only read the title.

They can because they think they can.

It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.

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

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.

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

Never pretend that the things you haven’t got are not worth having.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.

I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.

What does the brain matter compared with the heart?


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