Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Novelist and critic Virginia Woolf was a pioneer of modernist literature whose work shed light on the oppressed position of women in early 20th century social and political hierarchies. In works such as To the Lighthouse, Orlando and her landmark feminist essay A Room of One's Own, Woolf used her pen to explore the artistic, sexual and religious roles that women held at this monumental time in women's history. An early champion of stream-of-consciousness, Woolf was also a tireless, formal innovator whose dedication to her craft has inspired generations of authors. (The Hours, Michael Cunningham's 1998 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, is about three generations of women deeply affected by Woolf's 1923 novel Mrs. Dalloway.) Woolf suffered from extreme depression, and although her mental illness ultimately led to her suicide, her legacy lives on through the body of her creative works.