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 :: 1882-1941, British Novelist, Essayist

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Humor is the first gift to perish in a foreign language.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Translation]

 

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I am to be broken. I am to be derided all my life. I am to be cast up and down among these men and women, with their twitching faces, with their lying tongues, like a cork on a rough sea. Like a ribbon of weed I am flung far every time the door opens.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Innocence]

 

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I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Circumstance]

 

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I was in a queer mood, thinking myself very old: but now I am a woman again -- as I always am when I write.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Writers and Writing]

 

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If one could be friendly with women, what a pleasure -- the relationship so secret and private compared with relations with men. Why not write about it truthfully?
~ Virginia Woolf - [Intimacy]

 

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If we didn't live adventurously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I've no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Adventure]

 

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If we help an educated man's daughter to go to Cambridge are we not forcing her to think not about education but about war? -- not how she can learn, but how she can fight in order that she might win the same advantages as her brothers?
~ Virginia Woolf - [Colleges and Universities]

 

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If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or ''our'' country, let it be understood soberly and rationally between us that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share.
~ Virginia Woolf - [War]

 

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Inevitably we look upon society, so kind to you, so harsh to us, as an ill-fitting form that distorts the truth; deforms the mind; fetters the will.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Sex]

 

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It is curious how instinctively one protects the image of oneself from idolatry or any other handling that could make it ridiculous, or too unlike the original to be believed any longer.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Self-image]

 

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It is no use trying to sum people up. One must follow hints, not exactly what is said, nor yet entirely what is done.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Action]

 

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It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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It would be a thousand pities if women wrote like men, or lived like men, or looked like men, for if two sexes are quite inadequate, considering the vastness and variety of the world, how should we manage with one only? Ought not education to bring out and fortify the differences rather than the similarities? For we have too much likeness as it is, and if an explorer should come back and bring word of other sexes looking through the branches of other trees at other skies, nothing would be of greater service to humanity; and we should have the immense pleasure into the bargain of watching Professor X rush for his measuring-rods to prove himself ''superior.''
~ Virginia Woolf - [Gender]

 

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It's not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases, that age and kill us; it's the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Sensitivity]

 

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Life for both sexes is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. More than anything... it calls for confidence in oneself...And how can we generate this imponderable quality most quickly? By thinking that other people are inferior to oneself.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Confidence]

 

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Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Life and Living]

 

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Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Genius]

 

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Mental fight means thinking against the current, not with it. It is our business to puncture gas bags and discover the seeds of truth.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Truth]

 

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Methinks the human method of expression by sound of tongue is very elementary, and ought to be substituted for some ingenious invention which should be able to give vent to at least six coherent sentences at once.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Language]

 

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Most of a modest woman's life was spent, after all, in denying what, in one day at least of every year, was made obvious.
~ Virginia Woolf - [Pregnancy]

 

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