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Virginia Woolf

(1882-1941), Novelist and critic; sister of Vanessa Bell

Virginia Woolf (née Stephen)

Sitter in 64 portraits
A central figure in the Bloomsbury group of writers, artists and intellectuals. In 1905, with her sister Vanessa, she hosted Thursday evening gatherings at 46 Gordon Square that formed the hub of Bloomsbury. Despite intermittent bouts of mental illness she was a major contributor to the development of the novel form in literature. Many of her novels, notably Night and Day, Jacob's Room, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves, pioneered the use of the interior monologue, or 'stream of consciousness' and transformed ideas about structure, plot and characterisation. Her essay A Room of One's Own has become a classic of feminist literature. She committed suicide in 1941.

More on Woolf: Explore the portrait of Virginia Woolf by Stephen Tomlin (NPG 3882) from all angles |Art historian Frances Spalding on Woolf | Timeline | Woolf and Garsington | The Icons trail: discover the people who shaped the 20th Century

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