Virginia Woolf Smiling? Surely not…
Adeline Virginia Woolf (née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) English novelist and essayist. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929), with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.
Woolf’s life was blighted by mental illness, that today (hopefully) would have been recognised and treated successfully ( www.sane.org.uk/ ) . She committed suicide in 1941, by drowning herself in the River Ouse. Her illness's first expression at the age of thirteen was precipitated by her mother’s death (the famous beauty, Julia Prinsep Stephen, who was a model for Pre-Raphaelite painters, see: www.flickr.com/photos/30451055@N06/2849517372/ ) It did not prevent her, however, from experiencing happiness. She wrote in her last note to her husband:
“You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came.”
Her most famous work To the Lighthouse (5 May 1927) centres on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920.
The real lighthouse, on which Woolf based the fictional Scottish one, was the Godrevy Island lighthouse, off Upton Towans beach, St Ives, Cornwall.
Seventy-six acres of Upton Towans beach, complete with a striking view of the Godrevy Island lighthouse, was sold for £80,000 today (13/7/09). Although bought by a private individual, Planning rules mean the new owner will not be able to build on the land or excavate minerals and must allow public access – Hooray! Perhaps that is why Virginia is smiling.