Virginia Woolf


Virginia Woolf was born in 1882 London. Following the death of her father, Woolf moved with her sister Vanessa and two brothers to the house in Bloomsbury. In 1905, Woolf began to write for the Times Literary Supplement. She composed her first novel, Melymbrosia, from 1909 to 1912. In 1912, she met and married Leonard Woolf, with whom she founded the Hogarth Press. In 1915, Gerald Duckworth published a later version of Melymbrosia under the title The Voyage Out.

Between the two World Wars, Virginia Woolf was at the center of The Bloomsbury group, which included E.M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Vanessa Bell, and Duncan Grant, among others. In 1926, Woolf began a passionate romance with writer Vita Sackville-West, for whom she wrote Orlando.

In 1895 and 1915, Virginia Woolf suffered mental breakdowns. These attacks required many weeks of medical treatment. For the rest of her life, she continued to experience milder mood swings and severe headaches. On March 28, 1941, fearing yet another breakdown from which she might not recover, Woolf loaded her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse near her Sussex home.

Recognized in her own time and country as one of the most significant of the Modernists, Woolf left sixteen volumes of fiction and essays, in addition to her diaries, letters, and memoirs. In the sixty years following her death, her novels and essays have reached an ever-increasing audience. She is now recognized as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Melymbrosia is her first completed novel.


"Melymbrosia sheds better light than The Voyage Out on the mind of the trailblazing novelist and feminist, who pulled no punches in criticizing sexism and British colonialism....Since Woolf wasn't applying self-censorship as she did to the novel's later versions, the book is a remarkably fresh read, and is something contemporary readers can easily relate to. By uncovering this important volume, DeSalvo has made a significant contribution to literature." — Associated Press

"DeSalvo’s newly edited version of Woolf’s first novel gives us a fresh look at an important modernist writer…a vision of Woolf’s first novel as she would have preferred it." — The Bloomsbury Review

"Melymbrosia…is as covertly and as fiercely seditious as many of Jane Austen’s novels.…The narrative forces upon us the sense of Woolf’s involvement with the most important issues of her day, of her awareness that every encounter between women and men occurs within the context of shifting and conflicting societal forces." — from the Introduction