Virginia Woolf

by Hermione Lee

Paper Book, 1997




New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c1997.


Hermione Lee sees Virginia Woolf afresh, in her historical setting and as a vital figure for our times. Her book moves freely between a richly detailed life-story and new attempts to understand crucial questions - the impact of her childhood, the cause and nature of her madness and suicide, the truth about her marriage, her feelings for women, her prejudies and obsessions. This is a vivid, close-up portrait, returning to primary sources, and showing Woolf as occupying a distinct, even uneasy position with 'Bloomsbury'. It is a writer's life, illustrating how the concerns of her work arise and develop, and a political life, which establishes Woolf as a radically sceptical, subversive, courageous feminist. Incorporating newly discovered sources and illustrated with photos and drawings never used before, this biography is a revelation -informed, intelligent and moving.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member whirled
This weighty tome is often cited as the definitive Woolf biography, and with good reason. Lee's densely detailed portrait is rigorously sourced and referenced - she does not indulge in baseless speculation, yet still unearths many intriguing nuggets concerning her subject. Woolf's achievements seem
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all the more astonishing in light of these reflections on her often tragic and turbulent life. A must-read for her fans, and for lovers of top-shelf biographies.
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LibraryThing member riverwillow
This was an interesting and fascinating read and one that that attempts to rescue Woolf from the literary mythology that has grown around her. I really felt that I understood more about Woolf the woman and the writer and the demons that chased her.
LibraryThing member leslie.98
I gave up on this book about 300 pages in... This is well-written and full of information -- maybe too much information! It is more of an analysis of how Woolf's life affected her writing than a biography. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say it felt like reading an academic treatise on
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Woolf's life, full of references to her novels and letters (both hers and those of friends and family). Although I found it mildly interesting, it was very slow reading and never absorbed me, so when it was due back to the library I returned it even though not finished.
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