|Third child of Sir Leslie and Julia Stephen, Virginia began at a young age to express herself in writing, crafting fanciful newsletters for her parents and her first book review at the age of 9. Her later novels, short stories and essays combine a penetrating intelligence with lively humor and a commitment to experimentation in form and content. The shadow of her extraordinary literary talent was a recurrent mental illness that caused her first breakdown in 1895, after the death of her mother, and would reappear at intervals throughout her life, eventually prompting her to suicide in 1941. Married Leonard Woolf in 1912. Establishment of Hogarth Press, 1917.
"She might have become a glorified diseuse, who frittered away her broader effects by mischievousness, and she did give that impression to some who met her in the flesh; there were moments when she could scarcely see the busts for the moustaches she pencilled on them, and when the bust was a modern one, whether of a gentleman in a top hat or a youth on a pylon, it had no chance of remaining sublime. But in her writing, even in her light writing, central control entered. She was master of her complicated equipment, and though most of us like to write sometimes seriously and sometimes in fun, few of us can so manage the two impulses that they speed each other up, as hers did."