A Heartfelt Goodbye To Virginia Woolf 73 Years Later

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The Living Word

A Heartfelt Goodbye to Virginia Woolf 73 Years Later
25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941
Created by Jennifer Kiley
Created 23rd March 2014
Posted Friday 28th March 2014
A TRIBUTE TO VIRGINIA WOOLF

virginia woolf a writer's life quote over photo“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”

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.”

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

“Love, the poet said, is woman’s whole existence.”

“The truth is, I often like women. I like their
unconventionality. I like their completeness. I
like their anonymity. ”

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

“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”

“For it would seem – her case proved it – that we
write, not with the fingers, but with the whole
person. The nerve which controls the pen winds
itself about every fibre of our being, threads
the heart, pierces the liver.”

“I am reading six books at once, the only way of
reading; since, as you will agree, one book is
only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the
full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.”

“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.”

“When I cannot see words curling like rings of
smoke round me I am in darkness—I am nothing.”

“It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the sub-
merged truth sometimes makes its way to the surface.”

“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. All the being and the doing,
expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk,
with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-
shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others…
and this self having shed its attachments was free for
the strangest adventures.”

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

“Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice
answering a voice?”

“Let us again pretend that life is a solid substance,
shaped like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers.
Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical
story, so that when one matter is despatched—love for
instance—we go on, in an orderly manner, to the next.”

“The only advice, indeed, 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. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at
liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because
you will not allow them to fetter that independence which
is the most important quality that a reader can possess.
After all, what laws can be laid down about books? 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, however heavily furred and gowned, 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 most extraordinary thing about writing is that
when you’ve struck the right vein, tiredness goes.”

“…who shall measure the heat and violence of a poet’s
heart when caught and tangled in a woman’s body?”

“I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself
up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and
music and everything beautiful.”

“By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. ‘Tis the
waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs
us of our life.”

— Virginia Woolf [from Her Books & Diaries]

virginia & leonard woolf 1939 National Photo Gallery London 'the dinner party' virginia woolf

Virginia & Leonard Woolf 1939
National Photo Gallery London
The Dinner Party: Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s Handwritten Suicide Note to Her Husband Leonard: A Painful & Poignant Farewell [1941]

Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.

virginia woolf's monk's house garden

Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House Garden

Leonard buried Virginia’s ashes under the two intertwined Elm trees in their backyard at Monk’s House, their summer home in Sussex. The Elm trees in which they had nicknamed “Virginia and Leonard,” the spot was marked with a stone tablet engraved with the last lines from her novel The Waves: “Against you I fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death! The waves crashed on the shore.” After Leonard Woolf died on August 14, 1969, he was cremated and his ashes were buried next to Virginia’s under the Elm Trees at Monk’s House.

The following piece of music composed by Beethoven was to be the music played at Virginia Woolf’s and Leonard Woolf’s cremation ceremony. Leonard was so filled with grief, another piece of music was played but when he was home, he played Beethoven: String Quartet Op. 130. V. Cantina: adagio molto expressivo. It is most beautiful and soothing piece of music. I understand why Virginia and Leonard Woolf chose this piece of music. It is beautiful. It gives me a sense of being with Virginia Woolf who I admire with a fullness in my heart. She has touched my soul with her words. Her essence is alive within them. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to us in your writing with such a depth of honesty and Truth. You are not forgotten.

— Jennifer Kiley

Virginia Woolf

Peace For You Virginia Woolf

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