musical atmosphere. Virginia trusted his literary judgment. Their marriage was apartnership, though some suggest their sexual relationship was nonexistent. Virginia fellill more frequently as she grew older, often taking respite in rest homes and in the care ofher husband. In 1917, Leonard founded the Hogarth Press to publish their own books,hoping that Virginia could bestow the care on the press that she would have bestowedon children. She had been advised by doctors to not become pregnant after her thirdserious breakdown in 1913. The Voyage Out was published earlier in that year. Virginiawas fond of children, however, and spent much time with her brother and sister'schildren. Through the press, she had an early look at Joyce's Ulysses and aided authorssuch as Forster, Freud, Isherwood, Mansfield, Tolstoy, and Chekhov. She sold her halfinterest in 1938.Before her death, Virginia would publish an extraordinary amount ofgroundbreaking material. She was a renowned member of the Bloomsbury group and aleader of the modernist literary movement. Over the course of many illnesses, the mostnotable publications of Virginia's were Night and Day, The Mark on the Wall, Jacob'sRoom, Monday or Tuesday, Mrs. Dalloway, To The Lighthouse, Orlando, A Room ofOne's Own, The Waves, The Years, and Between the Acts. She had intense powers ofconcentration, which allowed her to work ten to twelve hour days. In total, sheaccumulated a treasure chest of work, containing five volumes of collected essays andreviews, two biographies (Flush and Roger Fry), two libertarian books, a volume ofselections from her diary, nine novels, and a volume of short stories. In March of 1941,Woolf left a suicide note behind for her husband and sister before drowning herself in anearby river. She feared her madness was returning and that she would not be able tocontinue writing. She wished to spare her loved ones. The time was World War IIEngland; she and Leonard had sworn to commit suicide if the Nazis had invaded.
VIRGINIA THE ARTIST
Virginia Woolf grew up among the most important and influential Britishintellectuals of her time and received free rein to explore her father’s library. Herpersonal connections and abundant talent soon opened doors for her. Woolf wrote thatshe found herself in “a position where it was easier on the whole to be eminent thanobscure.” Almost from the beginning, her life was a precarious balance of extraordinarysuccess and mental instability.As a young woman, Woolf wrote for the prestigious Times Literary Supplement,and as an adult she quickly found herself at the centre of England’s most importantliterary community. Known as the “Bloomsbury Group” after the section of London inwhich its members lived, this group of writers, artists, and philosophers emphasizednonconformity, aesthetic pleasure, and intellectual freedom, and included suchluminaries as the painter Lytton Strachey, the novelist E. M. Forster, the composerBenjamin Brittan, and the economist John Maynard Keynes. Working among such aninspirational group of peers and possessing an incredible talent in her own right, Woolfpublished her most famous novels by the mid-1920s, including The Voyage Out, Mrs.Dalloway, Orlando, and To the Lighthouse. With these works she reached the pinnacle ofher profession.Woolf’s life was equally dominated by mental illness. Her parents died when she wasyoung-her mother in 1895 and her father in 1904-and she was prone to intense, terribleheadaches and emotional breakdowns. After her father’s death, she attempted suicide,throwing herself out a window. Though she married Leonard Woolf in 1912 and loved himdeeply, she was not entirely satisfied romantically or sexually. For years she sustained anintimate relationship with the novelist Vita Sackville-West. Late in life, Woolf becameterrified by the idea that another nervous breakdown was close at hand, one from whichshe would not recover. On March 28, 1941, she wrote her husband a note stating that shedid not wish to spoil his life by going mad. She then drowned herself in the River Ouse.