Virginia Woolf quotes

  • You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Meaningful #Peace

  • The only advice ... that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Reading #Giving #Advice

  • I went from one to the other holding my sorrow - no, not my sorrow but the incomprehensible nature of this our life - for their inspection. Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends, I to my own heart, I to seek among phrases and fragments something unbroken - I to whom there is no beauty enough in moon or tree; to whom the touch of one person with another is all, yet who cannot grasp even that, who am so imperfect, so weak, so unspeakably lonely.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Lonely #Heart #Moon

  • 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.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Freedom #Women #Reading

  • 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.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Coffee #Sea #Knives

  • One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Love #Food #Sleep

  • Distorted realities have always been my cup of tea.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Reality #Tea #Cups Of Tea

  • When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Reading #People #Giving

  • 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

    #Book #Healing #Hands

  • There must be another life, she thought, sinking back into her chair, exasperated. Not in dreams; but here and now, in this room, with living people. She felt as if she were standing on the edge of a precipice with her hair blown back; she was about to grasp something that just evaded her. There must be another life, here and now, she repeated. This is too short, too broken. We know nothing, even about ourselves.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Dream #Hair

  • Dance music ... stirs some barbaric instinct - lulled asleep in our sober lives - you forget centuries of civilization in a second, & yield to that strange passion which sends you madly whirling round the room.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Passion #Yield #Civilization

  • If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Inspirational #Honesty #Lying

  • A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Women #Writing #Words Of Wisdom

  • A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Self #Goes On

  • No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Inspirational #Needs #Sparkle

  • I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you're everything that exists; the reality of everything.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Love #Romantic #Stars

  • 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 #Lamps #Envelopes

  • While fame impedes and constricts, obscurity wraps about a man like a mist; obscurity is dark, ample, and free; obscurity lets the mind take its way unimpeded. Over the obscure man is poured the merciful suffusion of darkness. None knows where he goes or comes. He may seek the truth and speak it; he alone is free; he alone is truthful, he alone is at peace.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Humility #Dark #Men

  • To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Freedom #Enjoy

  • They came to her, naturally, since she was a woman, all day long with this and that; one wanting this, another that; the children were growing up; she often felt she was nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotions.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Children #Growing Up #Long

  • Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Friendship #Funny Best Friend #Real Friends

  • With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked, and then, as she moved and took Minta's arm and left the room, it changed, it shaped itself differently; it had become, she knew, giving one last look at it over her shoulder, already the past.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Past #Feet #Giving

  • The best letters of our time are precisely those that can never be published.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Letters

  • Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss. I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Looks #Littles #Pavement

  • But why do I notice everything? She thought. Why must I think? She did not want to think. She wanted to force her mind to become a blank and lie back, and accept quietly, tolerantly, whatever came.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Lying #Thinking

  • Language is wine upon the lips.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Wine #Lips #Language

  • How far do our feelings take their colour from the dive underground? I mean, what is the reality of any feeling?
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Mean #Reality #Feelings

  • Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Programming

  • Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Writing #Poetry Is #Prose

  • 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.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Birthday #Time #Maturity

  • I want the concentration and the romance, and the worlds all glued together, fused, glowing: have no time to waste any more on prose.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Glowing #Romance #Together

  • Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Sleep #Insomnia

  • 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

    #Daughter #Mother #Brother

  • To depend upon a profession is a less odious form of slavery than to depend upon a father.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Work #Father #Slavery

  • 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

    #Happiness #Beauty #Laughter

  • It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Dream #Truth

  • Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Numbness #People #Soul

  • Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Women #Power #Eyeglasses

  • Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Women #Interesting #Feminism

  • 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

    #Writing #Soul #Mind

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

    #Creativity #Innovation

  • Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Friendship #Women #Book

  • The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Time #Women

  • The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Confidence #Love Yourself #Eye

  • 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 #Business #Mean

  • Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Cheer Up #Writing #Pieces

  • As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Inspirational #Country #Women

  • The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Happiness #Independent

  • My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery - always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What's this passion for?
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Passion #Reflection #Brain

  • Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Travel #Women #Speech

  • Really I don't like human nature unless all candied over with art.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Art #Nature #Human Nature

  • I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Beauty #Beautiful #Time

  • Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Order #Should

  • 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

    #Writing #Quality #Literature

  • Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Creativity #Order #Creative

  • It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple: one must be a woman manly, or a man womanly.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Women #Simple #Womanly

  • But nothing is so strange when one is in love (and what was this except being in love?) as the complete indifference of other people.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Being In Love #People #Strange

  • 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. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Book #Adventure #Hands

  • She belonged to a different age, but being so entire, so complete, would always stand up on the horizon, stone-white, eminent, like a lighthouse marking some past stage on this adventurous, long, long voyage, this interminable --- this interminable life.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Past #White #Long

  • I always had the deepest affection for people who carried sublime tears in their silences.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #People #Silence #Sublime

  • What does the brain matter compared with the heart?
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Heart #Brain #Matter

  • I'm terrified of passive acquiescence. I live in intensity.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Acquiescence #Intensity #Passive

  • Our apparitions, the things you know us by, are simply childish. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Dark #Surface #Apparitions

  • Truth had run through my fingers. Every drop had escaped.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Running #Fingers

  • A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Running #Women #Mean

  • But what is more to the point is my belief that the habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Eye #Writing #Practice

  • The mind is the most capricious of insects — flitting, fluttering.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Mind #Insects #Fluttering

  • Twice Flush had done his utmost to kill his enemy; twice he had failed. And why had he failed, he asked himself? Because he loved Miss Barrett. Looking up at her from under his eyebrows as she lay, severe and silent on the sofa, he knew that he must love her for ever. Things are not simple but complex. If he bit Mr. Browning he bit her too. Hatred is not hatred; hatred is also love.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Simple #Eyebrows #Hatred

  • As for my next book, I won't write it till it has grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Book #Fall #Writing

  • Never pretend that the things you haven't got are not worth having.
    -- Virginia Woolf

  • Few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Book #Giving #Expectations

  • Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Flower #Mrs Dalloway #Said

  • To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have- to want and want- how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again!
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Heart #Body #Want

  • A whole lifetime was too short to bring out, the full flavour; to extract every ounce of pleasure, every shade of meaning.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Life #Shade #Too Short

  • Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Soul #Atmosphere #Earth

  • For this is the truth about our soul, he thought, who fish-like inhabits deep seas and plies among obscurities threading her way between the boles of giant weeds, over sun-flickered spaces and on and on into gloom, cold, deep, inscrutable; suddenly she shoots to the surface and sports on the wind-wrinkled waves; that is, has a positive need to brush, scrape, kindle herself, gossiping.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Sports #Weed #Wind

  • Love, the poet said, is woman's whole existence.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Love #Women #Poet

  • Better was it to go unknown and leave behind you an arch, then to burn like a meteor and leave no dust.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Dust #Arches #Meteors

  • Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Growing Up #Order #Losing

  • Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying – what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Silly #Thinking #Sentimental

  • I am rooted, but I flow.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Inspirational Life #Healing #Flow

  • It is as if Emily Brontë could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Reality #Tears #Transparency

  • I really don't advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Way #Want #Married

  • Whenever you see a board up with "Trespassers will be prosecuted," trespass at once.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Boards

  • Money dignifies what is frivolous if unpaid for.
    -- Virginia Woolf

  • The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Passion #Maps #London

  • Love had a thousand shapes.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Love #Shapes #Thousand

  • When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me I am in darkness—I am nothing.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Writing #Darkness #Existence

  • Madness is terrific I can assure you, and not to be sniffed at; and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets, as sanity does.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Writing #Doe #Finals

  • ...she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Feelings #One Day #Dangerous

  • What has praise and fame to do with poetry? Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice? So that all this chatter and praise, and blame and meeting people who admired one and meeting people who did not admire one was as ill suited as could be to the thing itself- a voice answering a voice.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Writing #Voice #People

  • They went in and out of each other's minds without any effort.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Effort #Mind

  • for it was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Men #Unity #Tablets

  • Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed illusion and put truth in it's place?
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Illusion #Praise #Catastrophe

  • As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Men #Thinking #Long

  • Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I'm never not thinking of you
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Love #Thinking Of You #Forget

  • I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Book #Reading #Thought Provoking

  • And again she felt alone in the presence of her old antagonist, life.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Literature #Antagonist

  • For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Thinking #Solitude #Needs

  • I like the unreality of your mind; the whole thing is very splendid and voluptuous and absurd.
    -- Virginia Woolf

    #Mind #Chaos #Absurd