1904–1909: Journalist

  • John Mepham
Part of the Macmillan Literary Lives book series


On 28 November 1928 Woolf wrote in her diary: ‘Father’s birthday. He would have been 96, yes, today; & could have been 96, like other people one has known; but mercifully was not. His life would have entirely ended mine. What would have happened? No writing, no books; — inconceivable’. It is true that it was his death that made her birth as a professional writer possible. He died in February 1904. Until then his daughter had been an inexperienced student with no defined role in the world and no immediate hope of achieving anything. By the end of that year she was a published journalist, an apprentice, but now earning money and determined to make a career for herself as a woman of letters.


Typhoid Fever Professional Writer Religious Delusion Literary Life Time Literary Supplement 
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  1. 1.
    See Madeline Moore, The Short Season Between Two Silences: The Mystical and the Political in the Novels of Virginia Woolf (George Allen & Unwin, 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Jane Marcus, ‘The Niece of a Nun: Virginia Woolf, Caroline Stephen, and the Cloistered Imagination’ in her Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy (Indiana University Press, 1988). In my view Marcus seriously exaggerates the influence of Caroline Stephen on Woolf by neglecting the fundamental differences between them on questions of religion. Nonetheless, this chapter contains much useful information.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See Louise DeSalvo, ‘Shakespeare’s Other Sister’ in ed. Jane Marcus, New Feminist Essays on Virginia Woolf (Macmillan, 1981).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    See, for example, S. P. Rosenbaum, Victorian Bloomsbury: The Early Literary History of the Bloomsbury Group, volume 1, St Martin’s Press, 1986, pp. 161, 224.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Leonard Woolf, Sowing, in ed. S. P. Rosenbaum, The Bloomsbury Group: A Collection of Memoirs, Commentary and Criticism (University of Toronto Press, 1975) p. 104.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica (Cambridge University Press, 1962) p. 15.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    J. M. Keynes, ‘My Early Beliefs’, in Two Memoirs (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1949) p. 85, reprinted ined. S. P. Rosenbaum TheBloomsbury Group, p. 54.Google Scholar

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© John Mepham 1991

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  • John Mepham

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