57 Virginia Woolf Quotes You’ll Love
Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.
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.
I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Books are the mirrors of the soul.
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If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?
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As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
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Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night.
Love, the poet said, is woman’s whole existence.
All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.
What does the brain matter compared with the heart?
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The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.
They went in and out of each other’s minds without any effort.
Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.
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Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.
I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual
Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art
As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.
Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.
Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.
I have lost friends, some by death…others by sheer inability to cross the street.
There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, ‘Consume me’.
When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me I am in darkness—I am nothing.
When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?
Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.
The beauty of the world…has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.
Orlando naturally loved solitary places, vast views, and to feel himself for ever and ever and ever alone.
I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.
The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.
Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title.
The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.
He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink.
To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is…at last, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away…
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.
I worship you, but I loathe marriage. I hate its smugness, its safety, its compromise and the thought of you interfering with my work, hindering me; what would you answer?
Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.
She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.
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.
I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.
Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.
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.
For it would seem – her case proved it – that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.
By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream
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.
How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.
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.
What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.
For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of – to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others… and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.
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