In the 1929 extended essay A Room of One’s Own she stated

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In the 1929 extended essay, A Room of One’s Own, she stated, “For most of history, anonymous was a woman.” Unfortunately, sexism was the norm in publishing for many centuries and in order for a women to write a book that will get published, they often used male pseudonyms like the Bronte sisters and Mary Shelley, who published her novel Frankenstein did. And the disappointing thing is this sort of discrimination haven’t improved as much since then. Although, one female author revolutionized the 19th century literature in to something more fitting to the extraordinary developments, technology, warfare and consumerism in what she liked to call the “New Era” and lead the Modernist movement along with Joyce and Proust. Not only that, she defended these female authors by concocting a fictional sister of Shakespeare, who matched his talents but is denied of the opportunity while his brother gains fame and fortune. Despite the severe gender inequality in the early 20th century, she strongly believed in universal access to education, pacifism, and anti-fascism and spread the message throughout her works.Her name was Virginia Woolf, the flawed, unconventional hero who shaped the Post Victorian Britain. Her journey was something you might not expect from the so-called “Feminist Icon” but rather simple, a journey to happiness, to break down the tormenting barriers of her own mind. Before she begins this odyssey, her ordinary world was filled with joy and excitement. Yes, she wasn’t able to go to Cambridge or Oxford like her brothers because of her gender. Since she was born in a large, wealthy family she was able to pursue her life in the arts. She would spend her childhood summers in the Talland House in Cornwall which she described “feeling the purest ecstasy I can conceive. ( Virginia Woolf )” until, on May 5, 1895, her mother dies due to rheumatic fever. Then a series of tragedies followed: Her half sister’s death in 1897, her father’s death in 1904 and her brother’s death in 1906. After her mother’s death she starts to experience sexual assault by her 28 year old half brother, George Duckworth while Virginia was only 13.These obstacles causes her first depressive episodes which one of them lead to an suicide attempt by jumping out of a window and subsequent institutionalization. Since she was little, she was fond of writing but when she started her profession as a contributor in Times Literary Supplement in 1905, she discovered that writing helped her cope with her mental state and stated: “Directly I stop working I feel that I am sinking down, down.” Because of her passion for writing, she later quits her job as a teacher Morley College to focus on her first novel, The Voyage Out. She also moves to Bloomsbury, an hipster, Avant-Garde district with her sister Vanessa and her brother Thoby where she founds a group of modernist writers, painters and philosophers called the Bloomsbury Group. Her call to adventure is when she publishes her first novel on March 9,1913 to her publisher and her half brother, George Duckworth and starts volunteering for the Women’s Suffrage movement. Throughout her journey, she had many mentors or helpers who guided the way to achieve her goal but the most significant was Leonard Woolf, Virginia Woolf’s husband. Leonard was very supportive of Virginia and always prioritized her happiness over his. Since January 13th, 1913 he has been keeping a daily record of Virginia’s state of health. He tried as much as he could to make his love of his life happy even that goes for allowing her affair. Speaking of her affair, Vita Sackville West was also one of the helpers. She was one of the fellow writers Virginia met during the party hosted by the Clive Bell. Although, she was unimpressed at first she quickly became smitten by Vita’s aristocratic upbringing, her intelligence, her beauty and her family. They started their relationship as friends but escalated gradually. Their relationship eventually ended but they remained best friends and Virginia states “Dearest– let me have a line…You have given me such happiness…” in a letter to West during the WW1. After Leonard and Virginia attended Women’s Co-Operative Congress, due to her mental health she moves to Asheham House in Sussex. This is “Crossing the Threshold” for Virginia and series of tests and enemies awaited. The first trial was her ongoing depression and her health declining. Her doctors and psychiatrist who she disliked because they came up with ridiculous, ineffective cures worsened her condition and on evening of September 9, 1913, she attempts suicide but is unsuccessful. The second trial was WW1, which separated all of her acquaintances from the Bloomsbury Group and Vita Sackville West and made her feel miserable. But her health gradually improved and she was able function ordinarily. Unfortunately, this moment of delight didn’t last too long. Her health aggravates and her headaches and sleep problems returned but this time it was only worse. She became manic and violent to the point where the nurses are called in and she is sent to a nursing home. This was the lowest point of her life. The Abyss. Even when she is back to her home, there were still 4 nurses in attendance. Finally, resurrection occurs. One by one, as Virginia’s conditions improve slowly, nurses starts to leave and after 7 months she dismisses the last nurse standing. After years of volunteering in the Richmond branch of the Women’s Co-operative Guild, she finally retires at the age of 41. Her health has completely improved and she is now happy, contented with her life or so it have seemed. Woefully, on March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf could handle it no more and the barriers crushed her down. She wore her fur coat and her wellington boots, picked up her walking stick and step by step she went further in the cold water of the River Ouse. Today, we are able to diagnose her “madness” as the Bipolar disorder. Even Though, she wasn’t able to achieve her journey to happiness, her observation of the society described in her works inspired many artists and philosophers including Simone de Beauvoir. Because she is not the perfect hero you would see in fiction and is flawed, I feel that she depicts the epitome of “Modern Women”, someone we can look up to but relate in some ways as well. So, please grab one of her books and indulge yourself in her writing because as Virginia Woolf states, “Books are the mirrors of the soul. (Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts)”.BiographyCrum, Maddie. “Why Virginia Woolf Should Be Your Feminist Role Model.” The Huffington Post,, 7 Dec. 2017,“Virginia Woolf Was More Than Just a Women’s Writer.” National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH),“Abuse, Silence, and the Light That Virginia Woolf Switched On.” Granta Magazine, 30 Jan. 2018,“Timeline of Virginia Woolf’s Life.” The Virginia Woolf Blog,, et al. “Virginia Woolf, Neuroprogression, and Bipolar Disorder.” Química Nova, SBQ,“Virginia Woolf & Vita Sackville-West: A Love Affair.” The Virginia Woolf Blog,“Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.” The British Library, The British Library, 24 May 2016, Letters, Literature August 26th, 2013 52 Comments. “Virginia Woolf’s Handwritten Suicide Note: A Painful and Poignant Farewell (1941).” Open Culture,, Virginia, and Anne E. Fernald. Mrs. Dalloway. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014.Woolf, Virginia, and Susan Dick. To the Lighthouse. 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