Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Adeline Virginia Stephen was born to write. Her father, Leslie Stephen, was an editor, alpinist, biographer, writer, and journalist. Adeline was denied a public school and university education as were most females in that era. Thankfully, she had her father's extensive library to roam. She was a voracious reader.

In 1895, she had her first mental breakdown when her mother passed away. 1904 brought more sadness and mental illness for Adeline when her father passed away. She battled mental illness all of her life and in 1941, upon completion of BETWEEN THE ACTS, took her own life.

Who was Adeline Stephen? We all know her by her middle name and her husband's surname. Virginia Woolf

Have you read any of her work? Sadly, I am struggling to read A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN & THREE GUINEAS. It was a different time and a different mentality than from the world we live in today. (I'm sure she wouldn't be keen on 13 REASONS.)

My question to you is: Are there any classic works of literature you have tried to read, but not been able to finish?


  1. I re-read Pride and Prejudice last summer and got through Emma this summer...I did manage to finish, but, it took a while...the writing is so different!

  2. Witches of Eastwick. There are fifty-some words in the first sentence. Sorry, but unless there are elves, dragons or orcs involved, I'm not putting up with that kind of verbosity.

  3. Kay-I've tried Pride and Prejudice unsuccessfully. I have read about 150 books in the last 15 months. I keep a log.

    Shelli-I haven't even attempted Moby Dick.

    Amy-I didn't realize Witches of Eastwick was a book. I'm going to have to give it a shot!

  4. Great post ... and the comments too, brilliant! They made me laugh.

    Me too: I haven't made it through Pride and Prejudice either. One day ...

    Moby Dick ... Agg!

    'Witches of Eastwick', I am going to take a look at that book just for that first sentence alone. lol

    I did not know that Adeline Virgina Stephen was Virginia Woolf. Very interesting. Keep these posts coming. :)

  5. Thanks, Sharon...I wouldn't have known anything about Virginia Woolf had my Step-Mum not given me the book, the tea towel (above), and a coffee mug. We moved a year ago, and now I have my own office. Everyone else is allowed to use it, but you can tell it's my office.

    I haven't even been able to stay awake for all of Pride and Prejudice. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one.

  6. Actually, compulsory public school education in England began before Virginia Woolf was born. She just didn't go because she was from a wealthy family and was educated at home.

    I wasn't able to get into Catch 22, but that was quite a while ago, so maybe I'll give it another go.


  7. Thanks, Jo. In the book I was reading it said girls like her didn't get a public or university education. It didn't explain that she didn't go because she came from a wealthy family. You would think it would be the other way around...the wealthy could go. Her brother went to school.

  8. Well, "public school education" in the context of that period basically means rudimentary education for the poor, mostly in schools run by the church. It would have been compulsory for children aged 5-10 at the time she was born, although the school leaving age kept gradually rising. The upper class wouldn't have used the publicly provided schools because there were lots of private schools for boys (confusingly called public schools, presumably because the general public couldn't afford to go to them), some schools for girls (but not many) and they could afford to employ governesses for girls who were at home.

    There were also some women's colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, so she could conceivably have gone to university (she would have wealthy enough to go), although Oxford didn't admit women to degrees until after WWI. Cambridge didn't admit women fully until after WWII.