Virginia Woolf Quotes

Who is Virginia Woolf?

Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors.

Born January 25, 1882
Died March 28, 1941

Books by Virginia Woolf


Best 49 Quotes by Virginia Woolf | Page 1 of 2

“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”

“At one and the same time, therefore, society is everything and society is nothing. Society is the most powerful concoction in the world and society has no existence whatsoever.”

“Green in nature is one thing, green in literature another. Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to pieces.”

“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”

“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.”

“Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.”

“I am rooted, but I flow.”

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“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.”

“I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.”

“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”

“It is terrible to be frozen out of a sacred tradition – but even more terrible to be frozen into it.”

“Let us never cease from thinking—what is this ‘civilization’ in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them?”

“Nothing has really happened until it has been described.”

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“Of course, you can catch them and sort them and place them in alphabetical order in dictionaries. But words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind. If you want proof of this, consider how often in moments of emotion when we most need words we find none. Yet there is the dictionary; there at our disposal are some half-a-million words all in alphabetical order. But can we use them? No, because words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind.”

“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.”

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“Whoever starts out toward the unknown must consent to venture alone.”


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“The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions—there we have none.”

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”

“Why are women so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

A Room of One's Own Quotes

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

A Room of One's Own

“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”

A Room of One's Own

“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”

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“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.”

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“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”

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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

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“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. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its color, in deference to some headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery.”

A Room of One's Own

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Between the Acts Quotes

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”

Between the Acts

Jacob's Room Quotes

“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us. To gallop intemperately; fall on the sand tired out; to feel the earth spin; to have—positively—a rush of friendship for stones and grasses, as if humanity were over, and as for men and women, let them go hang—there is no getting over the fact that this desire seizes us pretty often.”

Jacob's Room

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“A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.”

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