Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf
A thing there was that mattered; a thing, wreathed about with chatter, defaced, obscured in her own life, let drop every day in corruption, lies, chatter. This he had preserved. Death was defiance. Death was an attempt to communicate; people feeling the impossibility of reaching the centre which, mystically, evaded them; closeness drew apart; rapture faded, one was alone. There was an embrace in death.
A biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may well have as many as a thousand.
A very elementary exercise in psychology, not to be dignified by the name of psycho-analysis, showed me, on looking at my notebook, that the sketch of the angry professor had been made in anger. Anger had snatched my pencil while I dreamt. But what was anger doing there? Interest, confusion, amusement, boredom--all these emotions I could trace and name as they succeeded each other throughout the morning. Had anger, the black snake, been lurking among them? Yes, said the sketch, anger had.
A book is not made of sentences laid end to end, but of sentences built, if an image helps, into arcades or domes.
A country life and breeding had preserved in them all a look which Mary hesitated to call either innocent or youthful, as she compared them, now sitting round in an oval, softly illuminated by candlelight; and yet it was something of the kind, yes, even in the case of the Rector himself. Though superficially marked with lines, his face was a clear pink, and his blue eyes had the long-sighted, peaceful expression of eyes seeking the turn of the road, or a distant light through rain, or the darkness of winter. She looked at Ralph. He had never appeared to her more concentrated and full of purpose; as if behind his forehead were massed so much experience that he could choose for himself which part of it he would display and which part he would keep to himself. Compared with that dark and stern countenance, her brothers' faces, bending low over their soup-plates, were mere circles of pink, unmolded flesh.
A desire for children, I suppose; for Nessa's life; for the sense of flowers breaking all round me involuntarily... Years and years ago, after the Lytton affair, I said to myself, walking up the hill at Bayreuth, never pretend that the things you haven't got are not worth having; good advice I think. And then I went on to say to myself that one must like things for themselves; or rather, rid them of their bearing upon one's personal life. One must venture on to the things that exist independently of oneself. Now this is very hard for young women to do. Yet I got satisfaction from it. And now, married to L., I never have to make the effort. Perhaps I have been too happy for my soul's good? And does some of my discontent come from feeling that?
A fine gentleman like that, they said, had no need of books. Let him leave books, they said, to the palsied or the dying. But worse was to come. For 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.
A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
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.
A learned man is a sedentary, concentrated solitary enthusiast, who searches through books to discover some particular grain of truth upon which he has set his heart. If the passion for reading conquers him, his gains dwindle and vanish between his fingers. A reader, on the other hand, must check the desire for learning at the outset; if knowledge sticks to him well and good, but to go in pursuit of it, to read on a system, to become a specialist or an authority, is very apt to kill what suits us to consider the more humane passion for pure and disinterested reading.
A light here required a shadow there.
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.
A million candles burnt in him without his being at the trouble of lighting a single one.
"Yes, of course," if it's fine tomorrow," said Mrs. Ramsay. "But you'll have to be up with the lark," she added.
A mistress of much deeper emotion than appears on the surface. She stimulates us to supply what is not there.
I remember one morning...
getting up at dawn...
there was such a sense of possibility!
You know? That feeling?
And... and I remember thinking to myself:
'So this is the beginning of happiness...'
'This is where it starts!'
'And, of course, there'll always be more.'
Never occurred to me
it wasn't the beginning,
It was happiness.
It was the moment.
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