require to be united

July 13, 2020

When I saw the couple get into the taxicab the mind felt as if, after being divided, it had come together again in a natural fusion. The obvious reason would be that it is natural for the sexes to co-operate. One has a profound, if irrational, instinct in favour of the theory that the union of man and woman makes for the greatest satisfaction, the most complete happiness. But the sight of the two people getting into the taxi and the satisfaction it gave me made me also ask whether there are two sexes in the mind corresponding to the two sexes in the body, and whether they also require to be united in order to get complete satisfaction and happiness? And I went on amateurishly to sketch a plan of the soul so that in each of us two powers preside, one male, one female; and in the man’s brain the man predominates over the woman, and in the woman’s brain the woman predominates over the man. The normal and comfortable state of being is that when the two live in harmony together, spiritually co-operating. If one is a man, still the woman part of his brain must have effect; and a woman also must have intercourse with the man in her.

Virginia Woolf
A room of one’s own

this wondrous city

June 5, 2020

To step out into the streets of London is to walk in the foots-steps of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, John Dryden and Lord Byron. Since the time of Chaucer, writers as diverse as Herman Melville and Barbara Cartland have worked, played and loved in London. Many of the greatest books ever written can trace their origins to this wondrous city.

Carrie Kania and Alan Oliver
Writers’ London: A Guide to Literary People and Places

Kissed

May 21, 2020

She has kissed me. All is shattered.

Virginia Woolf
The Waves

chaste kiss

February 10, 2020

But come, dearest creature — I will — give you one chaste kiss.

Virginia Woolf
November 1926 letter to Vita Sackville-West

words like nets

January 2, 2020

‘Haunted!’ she cried, suddenly pressing the accelerator. ‘Haunted, ever since I was a child. There flies the wild goose. It flies past the window out to sea. Up I jumped (she gripped the steering-wheel tighter) and stretched after it. But the goose flies too fast. I’ve seen it, here – there – there – England, Persia, Italy. Always it flies fast out to sea and always I fling after it words like nets (and here she flung her hand out) which shrivel as I’ve seen nets shrivel with only sea-weed in them; and sometimes there’s an inch of silver – six words – at bottom of the net. But never the great fish who lives in the coral-groves.’

Virginia Woolf
Orlando

November Nights

November 14, 2019

Cold November nights, poignant sensations, deep, resonant silence.

Virginia Woolf
Diary entry November 1940

adored

August 22, 2019

She was born to be the adored of poets

Virginia Woolf
The Waves

magic world

August 10, 2019

I want to raise up the magic world all round me and live strongly and quietly there.

Virginia Woolf
Diary entry February 1934

For [Virginia] Woolf, getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are. This dissolution of identity is familiar to travellers in foreign places and remote fastnesses, but Woolf, with her acute perception of the nuances of consciousness, could find it in a stroll down the street, a moment’s solitude in an armchair. Woolf was not a romantic, not a celebrant of that getting lost that is erotic love, in which the beloved becomes an invitation to become who you secretly, dormantly, like a locust underground waiting for the seventeen-year call, already are in hiding, that love for the other that is also a desire to reside in your own mystery in the mystery of others. Her getting lost was solitary, like Thoreau’s.

Rebecca Solnit
Open Door, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

the depths of the world

February 12, 2019

My roots go down to the depths of the world, through earth dry with brick, and damp earth, through veins of lead and silver. I am all fibre. All tremors shake me, and the weight of the earth is pressed to my ribs.

Virginia Woolf
The Waves