Leonard Woolf

Nothing matters. This was Leonard’s mantra, his guiding force during his early years. I’ve finally glimpsed behind the curtain to see the man who helped stabilize Virgina Woolf enough to write her genius gifts to literature. LW a force in his own right, part of the Bloomsbury set, Cambridge educated with the rest of the lot (Toby Stephens, Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, etc.), spending years in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) as a colonial administrator, then returning to London to pursue marriage with Virginia. VW accepts after having a few breakdowns, and thus their happy strange life begins. VW becomes hysterical when LW tries to consummate the marriage, thus their union is sexless (until VW gets involved with Vita Sackville-West). Years later LW announces at an editorial meeting “My wife was a lesbian.” After VW’s suicide, LW quickly latches onto Trekkie, a married woman who then spends the rest of her life shuttling between her husband and LW. I’m skimming over large bits of his life– his importance as an editor, VW encourager, Labor politician, village letter-writer.
The bio a bit too long for my tastes, but he did live a long and extremely productive life, so I won’t begrudge him the pages. This has my appetite whet for a re-read of The Waves, and finally to delve into Natania Rosenfeld’s book on the couple.


auth=Glendinning, Victoria
pub=2006
sub=A biography
isbn=0743246535