Virginia Woolf was born in 1882; her father was a Victorian man of letters, so she grew up in a literary atmosphere.
She frequented the King’s College in London, but her education mostly consisted of private Greek lesson; also she has free access to her father’s library, where she read everything that she liked.
The sea is the main symbol of all her works. For her, water represented two things:
it represented the woman, because it was harmonious;
It stood also for the death.
Virginia’s mother died in 1895, when she was only 13; in this period, she had her first nervous breakdown.
Her father was aggressive and she started to be in revolt against him.
When her father died in 1904, Woolf began her own life and literary career.
She moved to Bloomsbury and with her sister Vanessa, she became a member of the Bloomsbury Group, which included the avant-garde of early 20th-century London. For them the common denominators were:
a rejection for artistic convention;
a disdain for bourgeois sexual codes.
They were radical thinkers who used a lot the stream-of-consciousness prose style developed by Woolf.
In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf.
1915: she published The Voyage Out, her first novel, which has still a traditional pattern.
She entered a nursing home and attempted suicide by taking drugs.
1925: she published Mrs Dalloway, where Virginia experimented the new narrative techniques.
1927: she published her masterpiece, To The Lighthouse.
In 1929 she began to work on her novel The Waves, which came out in 1931, in which she showed the connection that existed between her creative process and her illness.
Her anxiety and her fears increased a lot with the Second World War.
She was haunted by the terror of losing her mind; at the age of 59, she drowned herself in the river Ouse.