Virginia Stephen was born in London in 1882. She was the daughter of a very famous intellectual of the end of IX century. She grew up and was educated in a very advance intellectual environment; she lived in The Bloomsbury district, the district of a club of open-mended intellectuals. In 1912, she married the essayist and journalist Leonard Woolf.
She chose to be remembered with the surname of her husband. Someone thinks this is a contradiction, because she was an active feminist: she fought for political, economic and working problems of women. But, if we read the last letter written by Virginia Woolf to her husband before her suicide, we understand her husband was the only male person worthy of love. She also had sentimental ambiguous situations out of marriage, for example, with VITA SACKVILLE WEST.
V. Woolf had a conception of human being similar to that of Shakespeare; she underlines this conception in one of her works: "ORLANDO". This is a work that combined fantasy with glimpses of Woolf’s own bisexuality in the biography of a character who lives thought four centuries and change from a man into a woman.
So when the “ORLANDO” was published, someone criticized it. So, Woolf showed to who has criticized her work, that in nature there are many species that are born male and die female. In this way, Woolf underlines that the homosexuality, the bisexuality and the Hermaphroditism are the normality, the commonness, in Nature.
Virginia Woolf was also an essayist and a literary critic. She wrote many essays about the English literature, and she wrote about many social problems. One of these essays is “A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN”. The title of his essays is an “objective correlative” because it is the symbol of the socio-economic independence. In fact, in this essay Woolf underlines the need of social, economic and intellectual freedom of a woman to become an artist.
Of course, she was a novelist; her most read novels are MRS. DALLOWAY and TO THE LIGHT HOUSE.
To the lighthouse
In this novel, V. Woolf developed two techniques: The Stream of consciousness and the interior monologue. In this novel there are three chapters; the first and the third are very long, but the external events, narrated in this two chapters are relative to one day. The second chapter is very short, but the external events. In the second chapter, the interior thoughts are not important; in fact, this chapter is relative to 10 years. In this novel, Woolf analyses the differences between the female and male personality, and she underlines the conventional idea about male superiority. Mr. Ramsey is the philosopher, he is rational. Mrs. Ramsay is a fundamentally creative character, who is not just a physically beautiful woman.
So in this novel there is a traditional family; a day, the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, asked his mother if they could go to the lighthouse the day after. Mrs. Ramsay answered positively, but her husband say the day after it would rain; as a reaction of Mr. Ramsay’s answered, in the mind of the young boy, there are many bad thoughts, that is to say, there is a stream of consciousness. Ten years later, the stay is satin the same house, but there is a painter; thanks an epiphany, Lily Briscoe, completes the picture that she began to paint 10 years ago. The figure that caused the epigraphy was the Holy family.
In this way Woolf underlines the ETERNAL FEMININE; so she point out the western consideration about family: Man is a rational owner, and woman is a conscious subject. She is who, in a family, has to take all responsibilities.
So Virginia Woolf criticized the Catholic church, because it doesn't give enough freedom of thought.