Let a man get up and say, Behold, this is the truth, and instantly I perceive a sandy cat filching a piece of fish in the background. Look, you have forgotten the cat, I say.
— Virginia Woolf
Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.
It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.
It is far more difficult to murder a phantom than a reality.
You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
I want the concentration and the romance, and the worlds all glued together, fused, glowing: have no time to waste any more on prose.
If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or 'our' country, let it be understood soberly and rationally between us that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits where I have not shared and probably will not share.
There can be no two opinions as to what a highbrow is. He is the man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea.
We are nauseated by the sight of trivial personalities decomposing in the eternity of print.
The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconventionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonymity.
This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say.
It is curious how instinctively one protects the image of oneself from idolatry or any other handling that could make it ridiculous, or too unlike the original to be believed any longer.
The poet gives us his essence, but prose takes the mold of the body and mind.
The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.
Really I don't like human nature unless all candied over with art.
The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
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.
It seems as if an age of genius must be succeeded by an age of endeavour; riot and extravagance by cleanliness and hard work.
Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.
Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.
For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.
Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.
Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.
If we help an educated man's daughter to go to Cambridge are we not forcing her to think not about education but about war? - not how she can learn, but how she can fight in order that she might win the same advantages as her brothers?
I was in a queer mood, thinking myself very old: but now I am a woman again - as I always am when I write.
The connection between dress and war is not far to seek; your finest clothes are those you wear as soldiers.
Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.
To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.
Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic.
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?
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.
Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.
A masterpiece is something said once and for all, stated, finished, so that it's there complete in the mind, if only at the back.
This is not writing at all. Indeed, I could say that Shakespeare surpasses literature altogether, if I knew what I meant.
The telephone, which interrupts the most serious conversations and cuts short the most weighty observations, has a romance of its own.
Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
Language is wine upon the lips.
It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.
Who shall measure the hat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?
On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.
This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room.
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
Mental fight means thinking against the current, not with it. It is our business to puncture gas bags and discover the seeds of truth.
It's not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases, that age and kill us; it's the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses.
To depend upon a profession is a less odious form of slavery than to depend upon a father.
We can best help you to prevent war not by repeating your words and following your methods but by finding new words and creating new methods.
Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?
If one could be friendly with women, what a pleasure - the relationship so secret and private compared with relations with men. Why not write about it truthfully?
Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.