Virginia Woolf was born into a privileged English household in 1882, Virginia was raised by free-thinking parents. She was educated by private tutors and copiously read from her father’s vast library of literary classics. She later resented the degradation of women in a patriarchal society, rebuking her own father for automatically sending her brothers to schools and university, while she was never offered a formal education. She began writing as a young girl and published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915. She wrote modernist classics including Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando and The Waves, as well as pioneering feminist works, A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas. In her personal life, she suffered bouts of deep depression. She committed suicide in 1941, at the age of 59.
The first thing Brenan came to his mind when he used to think of Virginia was her beauty:
Although her face was too long for symmetry, its bones were thin and delicately made, and her eyes were large, grey or greyish blue, and as clear as a hawk´s. To appreciate Virginia Woolf´s brilliance as a talker, one had to see her in her own circle of friends (called Bloomsbury because of the district where they used to live). They formed part of "an intellectual aristocracy". It was a regular custom for five or six of these to meet every week after dinner, and usually one or two of the younger generation would be invited to be present. In that capacity Brenan went several times. What “Bloomsbury” evenings offered was the concert in which each talked, to produce himself and to draw the best out of others. Virginia talked as she wrote. Irony plays a great and important part in her writings. When Brenan saw her in a reflective or dreamy mood he recognized only a little less slowly the authoress of To the Lighthouse. When she was working on The Waves, she told him that her difficulty lay in stopping the flow of her pen, but the secret was constant revision and correction. Virginia possessed those rare imaginative gifts that are known as genius. For a young writer even a slight acquaintance with such a group of people was an education. Yet it must be admitted that they lived in an ivory tower, their smug Cambridge philosophy. Although Virginia Woolf, the most open-minded, was tied to them by her family. A class and mode of life that was dying (Brenan, 1963).
Brenan, G. (1963). South from Granada. London: Penguin Books.