25 Virginia Woolf Quotes for Understanding Life Itself

These Virginia Woolf quotes frame her ideas about all aspects of life, from writing to living as a woman in the modern world.

Virginia Woolf was a writer of the early twentieth century who resided in the United Kingdom.

Her first novel was The Voyage Out, which was published in 1915.

Many of her works speak about writing themselves, but also tackle womanhood, relationships, and general wonderings and observations about life.

What can we learn from Virginia Woolf’s quotes?

The truth that lies under many of her famous quotes, no matter the topic, is truth about the beauty and complexity of life.

When you look at books, love, and the female existence, each one comes back to the truth about the complexities of life itself.

The Virginia Woolf quotes below highlight this complexity, as well as uncover the true nature of the self.

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Virginia Woolf Quotes About Books and Writing

1. “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

2. “Books are the mirrors of the soul.” – Virginia Woolf

3. “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” – Virginia Woolf

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4. “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

5. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” – Virginia Woolf

6. “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.” – Virginia Woolf

7. “As 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.” – Virginia Woolf

8. “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 fiber of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.” – Virginia Woolf

9. “And the poem, I think, is only your voice speaking.” – Virginia Woolf

10. “For books continue each other, in spite of our habit of judging them separately.” – Virginia Woolf

11. “I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.” – Virginia Woolf

12. “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.” – Virginia Woolf
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13. “When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me I am in darkness—I am nothing.” – Virginia Woolf

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

15. “Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?” – Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf Quotes About Love

16. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

17. “Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?” – Virginia Woolf

18. “The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” – Virginia Woolf

19. “Love, the poet said, is woman’s whole existence.” – Virginia Woolf

20. “I have lost friends, some by death… others by sheer inability to cross the street.” – Virginia Woolf

21. “To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is… at last, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away…” – Virginia Woolf

22. “What does the brain matter compared with the heart?” – Virginia Woolf

23. “I worship you but I loathe marriage. I hate its smugness, its safety, its compromise and the thought of you interfering with my work, hindering me; what would you answer?” – Virginia Woolf

24. “I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.” – Virginia Woolf

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25. “They went in and out of each other’s minds without any effort.” – Virginia Woolf

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What did you learn from these Virginia Woolf quotes?

Virginia Woolf is one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century.

The Virginia Woolf quotes above display the deep truths about life that she explores in her literature.

Throughout her many works, she touches on topics exploring the truth behind life, including love and friendships, her intimate connection with writing, and existing as a woman.

What exactly does Virginia Woolf teach us about life?

Virginia Woolf’s outlook on life that she displays through her writing shows the truth and vulnerability in life.

She explores this through her own writing and often talks about humanity, love, and womanhood, which all come together to make one big, complicated and beautiful life story.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these wise Virginia Woolf quotes?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. Renu Arora

    August 4, 2021 at 11:40 AM

    Virginia Woolf saw life too closely.

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