Reading lists

Where to start with Virginia Woolf

Are you afraid of Virginia Woolf? There's no need: there's something for everyone in the Modernist writer's back catalogue. 

virginia woolf books

Nearly century has passed since Virginia Woolf published her first essays and novels, and it feels like she's never been more relevant. Readers discovered and re-visited Mrs Dalloway during lockdown, finding solace and reflection in her meditation upon time in London and January 2020 saw Woolf placed at the heart of a group biography about women writers in Bloomsbury. 

Woolf's personal life has made her as much of a subject of of fascination as her writing. As a central figure of the influential Bloomsbury Group, she was embroiled in their complicated and, at the time, scandalous affairs. A recent publication of her lust and longing-filled correspondence with Vita Sackville-West, Love Letters: Vita and Virginia, is well worth a read. Their fascinating lives, beset by tragedy, have been turned into films and television dramas. Woolf has become a revered figurehead whose life and thoughts have helped shape modern ideas about feminism, sexuality and mental health.

Yet, it’s in her artfully crafted books that we most feel her indomitable spirit and continue to hear the voice of Woolf herself. Here's where to start reading. 

Virginia Woolf illustrated series, six books, with blue vase

Virginia Woolf's greatest works

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