Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Excerpt

At the beginning of Virginia Woolf second novel, Night and Day , is a description of what it feels like to be born the daughter of a distinguished literary family. "The quality of her birth oozed into Katharine's consciousness from a dozen different sources as soon as she was able to perceive anything. Above her nursery fireplace hung a photograph of her grandfather's tomb in Poet's Corner, and she was told in one of those moments of grown-up confidence which are so tremendously impressive to the child's mind, that he was buried there because he was' a good and great man.' . . . Again and again she was brought down into the drawing-room to receive the blessing of some awful distinguished old man who sat, even to the childish eye, somewhat apart, all gathered together and clutching a stick, unlike an ordinary visitor, in her father's own armchair, and her father himself was there, unlike himself, too, a little excited and very polite. These formidable old creatures used to take her in their arms, look very keenly in her eyes, and then to bless her, and tell her that she must mind and be a good girl. . . . Her earliest conceptions of the world included an august circle of beings to whom she gave the names of Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Shelley, and so on, who were, for some reason . . .

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