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This biography concentrates exclusively on Woolf's close and inspirational female friendships with the key women in her life. Vanessa Curtis looks both at the effect of these relationships on her emotional life and the inspiration that each woman provided for the female protagonists in her fiction.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780750934060
ISBN-10: 0750934069
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x mm)
Pages: 280
Imprint: Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 22-May-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions


UK Kirkus Review » There is already a wealth of biographical material available on Virginia Woolf, but in examining the influence of women on the life of this disturbed writer, Vanessa Curtis has come up with a fresh and intriguing angle. According to Curtis, 'a steady stream of unusual, enigmatic and troubled women shaped and inspired' Virginia's life and work, giving her the 'stimulation, support, reassurance and maternal care that [she]... craved relentlessly.' Curtis begins by exploring Virginia's repressed Victorian childhood, which was dominated by the stifling presence of her grandmother, Maria 'Mia' Jackson, her mother Julia and her half-sister Stella. These three women were, unwittingly, responsible for much of the mental torment suffered by Virginia throughout her life. Their early deaths - Virginia was only 13 when her mother succumbed to rheumatic fever - haunted her for many years, and long after their passing she was still imprisoned by the strict values they imposed upon her, suppressing her creativity. Her anger at this repression, Curtis tells us, is revealed in her cryptic novels. Her most famous work, To the Lighthouse, draws heavily on her mother in the character of Mrs Ramsay, while images of Stella, who tragically died just months after her marriage, can be seen in several of her books. Curtis goes on to trace the influence of other women in Virginia's life - her sister Vanessa Bell, the artist Dora Carrington, writers Katherine Mansfield and Vita Sackville-West and the contentious composer Ethel Smyth. Each had their part to play in shaping Virginia's life, work and, ultimately, her death. Curtis leads the reader on a fascinating voyage of discovery, shedding light on one of the most enigmatic writers of the 20th century, and leading to a greater understanding of her remarkable work. Tantalizingly, there are also brief glimpses of the men in Virginia's life - her father, brother, half-brothers and beloved husband Leonard - suggesting yet another piece of uncharted territory waiting to be explored. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Vanessa Curtis

Vanessa Curtis studied music in London before working as a freelance writer and reviewer for newspapers and magazines. In 1998 she co-founded The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. She co-edits the literary Virginia Woolf Bulletin and has published a monograph on Virginia Woolf for the 'Bloomsbury Heritage' series. She lives near Chichester Harbour with her husband and writes full-time.

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