Virginia Woolf Quotes

Most popular Virginia Woolf Quotes

Even her eyelashes acted.
— Virginia Woolf (The Moment)

actors

Intimacy is a difficult art.
— Virginia Woolf (The Common Reader,)

intimacy

Language is wine upon his lips.
— Virginia Woolf (Jacob’s Room)

language

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
— Virginia Woolf (A Writer’s Diary)

inner peace

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
— Virginia Woolf

inner peace

Literature is the record of our discontent.
— Virginia Woolf (The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf)

literature

That great Cathedral space which was childhood.
— Virginia Woolf

childhood

Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.
— Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)

habit

I ransack public libraries & find them full of sunk treasure.
— Virginia Woolf (The Diary of Virginia Woolf: 1920–24)

libraries

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.
— Virginia Woolf
On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.
— Virginia Woolf (The Waves)

agony

It is the privilege of loneliness; in privacy one may do as one chooses.
— Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)

loneliness

Her mind is a very thin soil, laid an inch or two above very barren rock.
— Virginia Woolf
I have lost friends, some by death others by sheer inability to cross the street.
— Virginia Woolf

friendship

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
— Virginia Woolf (The Moment and Other Essays)

truth

The poet gives us his essence, but prose takes the mold of the body and mind entire.
— Virginia Woolf
Wherever one cut him, with a little question, he poured, spurted fountains of ideas.
— Virginia Woolf

poets

I like going from one lighted room to another, such is my brain to me; lighted rooms.
— Virginia Woolf (A Writer’s Diary)

Brain

Unless you catch ideas on the wing and nail them down, you will soon cease to have any.
— Virginia Woolf (Virginia Woolf)

ideas

Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.
— Virginia Woolf (The Common Reader,)

poetry

It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)

dreams (during sleep) truth

When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me I am in darkness—I am nothing.
— Virginia Woolf (The Waves)

words

Death is the enemy.  Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!
— Virginia Woolf

death

The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
— Virginia Woolf
I don't believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one's aspect to the sun.  Hence my optimism.
— Virginia Woolf (A Writer’s Diary)

aging

One likes people much better when they're battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.
— Virginia Woolf (A Writer’s Diary)

misfortune

One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people's throats—and one always secretes too much jelly.
— Virginia Woolf (Leave the Letters Till We’re Dead: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, 1936–1941)

quotations

Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.
— Virginia Woolf (Orlando)

writers

Each had his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart; and his friends could only read the title.
— Virginia Woolf (Jacob’s Room)

the past

The beauty of the world which is so soon to perish has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)

beauty laughter the world

A biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may well have as many thousand.
— Virginia Woolf

the self

Novels so often provide an anodyne and not an antidote, glide one into torpid slumbers instead of rousing one with a burning brand.
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)

novels

A masterpiece is...something said once and for all, stated, finished, so that it's there complete in the mind, if only at the back.
— Virginia Woolf (The Sickle Side of the Moon)

masterpiece

Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
— Virginia Woolf (Orlando)

mind

Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)

men and women

Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible.
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)

fiction

To survive, each sentence must have, at its heart, a little spark of fire, and this, whatever the risk, the novelist must pluck with his own hands from the blaze.
— Virginia Woolf (The Common Reader,)

writing writing advice

Travel and idle, contemplate the future or the past of the world, dream over books and loiter at street corners, and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.
— Virginia Woolf

thinking

It is notorious that illusions are shattered by conflict with reality, so no real happiness, no real wit, no real profundity are tolerated where the illusion prevails.
— Virginia Woolf (Orlando: A Biography)

reality illusion

There can be no two opinions as to what a highbrow is. He is the man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea.
— Virginia Woolf (The Death of the Moth)

ideas

There can be no two opinions as to what a highbrow is.  He is the man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea.
— Virginia Woolf (The Death of the Moth)

intellectuals

Vague as all good definitions are, a good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in, not out.
— Virginia Woolf (The Common Reader,)

essays

If we didn't live venturously, 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 (A Writer’s Diary)

adventure

Almost any biographer, if he respects facts, can give us much more than another fact to add to our collection.  He can give us the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and endears.
— Virginia Woolf (The Death of the Moth)

biography

Once the disease of reading has laid hold upon the system it weakens it so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing.
— Virginia Woolf (Orlando)

reading writing

A poor wretch of an author keeps all his thoughts in a dark attic in his own brain, and when they come out in print they look so shivering and naked. So for other people to like them is a great encouragement.
— Virginia Woolf (The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume I: 1888-1912)

encouragement

Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings . . . it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes in literature.
— Virginia Woolf (The New Criterion)

illness

Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us.  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.
— Virginia Woolf (Street Haunting: A London Adventure)

bookstore

The intellect, divine as it is, and all worshipful, has a habit of lodging in the most seedy of carcasses, and often, alas, acts the cannibal among the other faculties so that often, where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
— Virginia Woolf (Orlando: A Biography)

intellect