HomeQuotes140 Virginia Woolf Quotes on Self-Introspection & Love

140 Virginia Woolf Quotes on Self-Introspection & Love

1. “As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”

2. “There was a star riding through clouds one night, and I said to the star, ‘Consume me.’”

3. “I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”

4. “Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”

5. “‘I want to write a novel about Silence,’ he said, ‘the things people don’t say.’”

6. “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

7. “I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”

8. “Why are women so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”

9. “When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?”

10. “Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”

11. “Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

12. “As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”

13. “Growing up is losing some illusions in order to acquire others.”

14. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

15. “The eyes of others, our prisons; their thoughts, our cages.”

16. “Books are the mirrors of the soul.”

17. “I am rooted, but I flow.”

18. “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”

19. “I prefer men to cauliflowers.”

20. “Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”

21. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

22. “Orlando naturally loved solitary places, vast views, and to feel himself for ever and ever and ever alone.”

23. “I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.”

24. “So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”

25. “For it would seem—her case proved it—that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.”

26. “I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.”

27. “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”

28. “Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title.”

29. “Fiction is , attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”

30. “How many times have people used a pen or paintbrush because they couldn’t pull the trigger?”

31. “Often on a wet day, I begin counting up what I’ve read and what I haven’t read.”

32. “And the poem, I think, is only your voice speaking.”

33. “But then, anyone who’s worth anything reads just what he likes, as the mood takes him, and with extravagant enthusiasm.”

34. “The taste for books was an early one. As a child, he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading. They took his taper away, and he bred glow-worms to serve his purpose. They took the glow-worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinder.”

35. “I was always going to the bookcase for another sip of the divine specific.”

36. “Therefore, I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating on any subject, however trivial or however vast.”

37. “Who shall measure the heat and violence of a poet’s heart when caught and tangled in a woman’s body?”

38. “For books continue each other, in spite of our habit of judging them separately.”

39. “To put it in a nutshell, he was afflicted with a love of literature. It was the fatal nature of this disease to substitute a phantom for reality.”

40. “The most extraordinary thing about writing is that when you’ve struck the right vein, tiredness goes. It must be an effort, thinking wrong.”

41. “Women and fiction remain, so far as I am concerned, unsolved problems.”

42. “Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed the illusion and put truth in its place?”

43. “The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low.”

44. “Moments like this are buds on the tree of life. Flowers of darkness, they are.”

45. “I have made up thousands of stories; I have filled innumerable notebooks with phrases to be used when I have found the true story—the one story to which all these phrases refer. But I have never yet found the story. And I begin to ask, ‘Are there stories?’”

46. “I am not one and simple, but complex and many.”

47. “Her life was a tissue of vanity and deceit.”

48. “Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged. Life is a luminous halo—a semi transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.”

49. “If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.”

50. “How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here forever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.”

51. “What is the meaning of life? That was all—a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”

52. “All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”

53. “Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night.”

54. “For now, she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of—to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone.”

55. “All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others, and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.”

56. “It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.”

57. “Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence.”

58. “To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have—to want and want—how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again!”

59. “I’m sick to death of this particular self. I want another.”

60. “By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves enough money to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”

61. “She felt how life, from being made up of little separate incidents which one lived one by one, became curled and whole like a wave which bore one up with it and threw one down with it, there, with a dash on the beach.”

62. “I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and music and everything beautiful.”

63. “Let us again pretend that life is a solid substance, shaped like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers. Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical story, so that when one matter is dispatched—love for instance—we go on, in an orderly manner, to the next.”

64. “I need silence, and to be alone and to go out, and to save one hour to consider what has happened to my world, what death has done to my world.”

65. “Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?”

66. “Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying—what one felt.”

67. “I see nothing. We may sink and settle on the waves. The sea will drum in my ears. The white petals will be darkened with sea water. They will float for a moment and then sink. Rolling over the waves will shoulder me under. Everything falls in a tremendous shower, dissolving me.”

68. “By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. ‘Tis the waking that kills us.”

69. “Yes, I deserve a spring—I owe nobody nothing.”

70. “Love, the poet said, is a woman’s whole existence.”

71. “A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”

72. “You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been, in every way, all that anyone could be.”

73. “What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good.”

74. “The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.”

75. “If anybody could have saved me, it would have been you.”

76. “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”

77. “He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in ink.”

78. “What does the brain matter compared with the heart?”

79. “I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond daily life.”

80. “Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”

81. “He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory, tinged by dreams.”

82. “They went in and out of each other’s minds without any effort.”

83. “Just in case you ever foolishly forget, I’m never not thinking of you.”

84. “It is a thousand pities never to say what one feels.”

85. “To love makes one solitary.”

86. “For this moment—this one moment—we are together. I press you to me. Come, pain, feed on me. Bury your fangs in my flesh. Tear me asunder. I sob, I sob.”

87. “I really don’t advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married.”

88. “I want someone to sit beside me after the day’s pursuit and all its anguish, after its listening, and its waitings, and its suspicions. After quarrelling and reconciliation I need privacy—to be alone with you, to set this hubbub in order. For I am as neat as a cat in my habits.”

89. “Friendships, even the best of them, are frail things. One drifts apart.”

90. “I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”

91. “The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”

92. “I have lost friends—some by death, others by sheer inability to cross the street.”

93. “To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is, at last, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away.”

94. “I will not be famous, great. I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self—to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”

95. “Blame it or praise it, there is no denying in us.”

96. “And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves.”

97. “The beauty of the world has two edges—one of laughter, one of anguish; cutting the heart asunder.”

98. “I am in the mood to dissolve in the sky.”

99. “I detest the masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and honour. I think the best these men can do is not talk about themselves anymore.”

100. “Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”

101. “It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes makes its way to the surface.”

102. “I feel a thousand capacities spring up in me. I am arch, gay, languid, melancholy by turns.”

103. “My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery—always buzzing, humming, soaring, roaring, diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?”

104. “He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.”

105. “It was a silly, silly dream, being unhappy.”

106. “I need not hate any man; he cannot me. I need not flatter any man; he has nothing to give me.”

107. “The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.”

108. “It is no use trying to sum people up.”

109. “For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.”

110. “Illusions are to the soul what the atmosphere is to the earth.”

111. “What is meant by reality? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in in the sun.”

112. “Life stands still here.”

113. “There it was before her—life. Life, she thought, but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband.”

114. “When the body escaped mutilation, seldom did the heart go to the grave unscarred.”

115. “Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither.”

116. “We know not what comes next, or what follows after.”

117. “On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.”

118. “She belonged to a different age, but being so entire, so complete, would always stand up on the horizon, stone-white, eminent, like a lighthouse marking some past stage on this adventurous, long, long voyage, this interminable—this interminable life.”

119. “The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.”

120, “When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, ‘Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They love reading.’”

121. “Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.”

122. “She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.”

123. “I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”

124. “I see you everywhere—in the stars, in the river. To me, you’re everything that exists—the reality of everything.”

125. “I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.”

126. “When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me, I am in darkness—I am nothing.”

127. “I worship you, but I loathe marriage. I hate its smugness, its safety, its compromise and the thought of you interfering with my work, hindering me; what would you answer?”

128. “She thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist’s religion of doing good for the sake of goodness.”

129. “Really, I don’t like human nature unless it’s all candied over with art.”

130. “It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.”

131. “Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure.”

132. “No passion is stronger in the breast of a man than the desire to make others believe as he believes. Nothing so cuts at the root of his happiness and fills him with rage as the sense that another rates low what he prizes high.”

133. “Beauty was not everything. Beauty had this penalty—it came too readily, came too completely. It stilled life—froze it.”

134. “The world wavered, and quivered, and threatened to burst into flames.”

135. “Cleverness was silly. One must simply say what one felt.”

136. “I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.”

137. “Better was it to go unknown and leave behind you an arch, then to burn like a meteor and leave no dust.”

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