Virginia Woolf — most know the name, but few know the obscure biographical facts behind the name. Today, for example, is the day of her birth. To celebrate the 59 years that Woolf spent observing and writing about our world, we bring you 59 tidbits about her life. So, go ahead! Get better acquainted with one of the 20th century’s most important authors after the jump.
1. As a child, it took Woolf longer than usual to begin speaking in coherent sentences.
2. For a time, Woolf wrote while standing at a desk 3’6″ tall because she wanted to be like a painter who could instantly step away from her canvas to get a better view.
3. While still in the nursery, she was nicknamed “The Goat.”
4. Woolf first tried to kill herself at the age of 22 by jumping out of a window. The window she jumped from, however, was not high enough to cause serious harm.
5. While writing her first novel, The Voyage Out, Woolf asked friends and relatives for advice whenever she got stuck or had doubts. After that, no one was allowed to see her manuscripts until they were finished.
6. Woolf’s dog, Hans, was known for interrupting parties by getting sick and relieving itself on the hearthrug.
7. As a child, Woolf was a formidable bowler.
8. Woolf once discovered a diary she had written during one particular sane and lucid period in her life, and laughed upon rereading it.
9. Woolf was highly critical of her friends’ eating habits at the dinner table, often reproving them for eating with either too little grace or too much enthusiasm.
10. Woolf once said that her death would be the “one experience I shall never describe.”