- NAME: Virginia Woolf
- OCCUPATION: Journalist, Author
- BIRTH DATE: January 25, 1882
- DEATH DATE: March 28, 1941
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: Near Lewes, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom
- Originally: Adeline Virginia Stephen
- AKA: Virginia Woolf
- Full Name: Adeline Virginia Woolf
Best Known For
English Writer Virginia Woolf became famous for her nonlinear prose style, especially noted in her novels Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse.
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Born into a privileged English household in 1882, writer Virginia Woolf was raised by free-thinking parents. She began writing as a young girl and published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915. Her nonlinear, free form prose style inspired her peers and earned her much praise. She was also known for her mood swings and bouts of deep depression. She committed suicide in 1941, at the age of 59.
"I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman."
"One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them."
English writer Virginia Woolf was raised in a remarkable household. Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, was an historian and author, and also one of the most prominent figures in the golden age of mountaineering. Woolf’s mother, Julia Prinsep Stephen (née Jackson), had been born in India and later served as a model for several Pre-Raphaelite painters. She was also a nurse and wrote a book on the profession. Woolf had three full siblings and four half-siblings; both of her parents had been married and widowed before marrying each other. The eight children lived under one roof at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington.
Two of Woolf’s brothers had been educated at Cambridge, but all the girls were taught at home and utilized the splendid confines of the family’s lush Victorian library. Moreover, Woolf’s parents were extremely well connected, both socially and artistically. Her father was a friend to William Thackeray and George Henry Lewes, as well as many other noted thinkers. Her mother’s aunt was the famous 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. For these reasons and more, Virginia Woolf was ideally situated to appreciate and experiment with the art of writing.
From the time of her birth, on January 25, 1882, until 1895, Woolf spent her summers in St. Ives, a beach town at the very southwestern tip of England. The Stephens’ summer home, Talland House, which is still standing today, looks out at the dramatic Porthminster Bay and is a short walking distance to the Godrevy lighthouse. In her later memoirs, Woolf recalled St. Ives with a great fondness. In fact, she incorporated scenes from those early summers into her modernist novel, To the Lighthouse (1927).
As a young girl, Virginia was light-hearted and playful. She started a family newspaper, the Hyde Park Gate News, to document her family’s humorous anecdotes. She had, however, been traumatized at the age of six when her half-brothers George and Gerald Duckworth sexually abuse her. This dark spot was only made deeper and more permanent when her mother suddenly died at the age of 49. The hormones of early adolescence and the undeniable reality of this huge loss spun Woolf into a nervous breakdown, only made worse when two years later, her half-sister Stella also died.
Despite her misery, Woolf managed to take classes in German, Greek and Latin at the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London. Her four years of study introduced her to a handful of radical feminists at the helm of educational reforms. In 1904, her father died. His passing was climatic; during this time she was institutionalized.
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Truth is often more fascinating than fiction. Since the beginning of movies, actors have been portraying figures from history and bringing them to life on screen. Mastering the well-known mannerisms and characteristics of real world figures can be more challenging than portraying a fictional character. Enormous amounts of research and drastic physical transformations are not uncommon for actors wanting to properly inhabit their role on film. Whether playing a scheming Queen, a country singer, a temperamental boxer, or a pioneering writer, those performers who can accurately play the part often find Oscar gold as their reward. Here are the Academy Award-winning actors, and the larger-than-life people they portrayed.
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