A Life-Enhancer


I’ve long been fascinated by Virginia Woolf. I have a number of books on my “special books” shelf — three volumes of her Diary, and two volumes of her Letters. All were read years ago, and as I read them, I wrote down quotes that particularly impressed me at the time.

It is her birthday today. She was born 132 years ago, and I realized that she was born just two years before my grandmother. Somehow, that makes her feel much closer and not so long ago.

So to celebrate her today, I’ll share with you one of my favorite quotes about her.  It’s a quote from Nigel Nicholson, included in a book that introduced me to her, called Recollections of Virginia Woolf by her contemporaries, edited by Joan Russell Noble.

…Virginia had this way of magnifying one’s simple words and experiences. One would hand her a bit of information as dull as a lump of lead. She would hand it back glittering like diamonds. I always felt on leaving her that I had drunk two glasses of an excellent champagne. She was a life-enhancer. That was one of her own favorite phrases. She always said that the world was divided into two categories: those who enhanced life and those who diminished it.


4 thoughts on “A Life-Enhancer

  1. Les in NE

    Wonderful quote, Robin! Like Kailana, I’ve only read a little bit by her. It’s been years since I read Mrs. Dalloway and I can’t recall if I read To the Lighthouse or just watched the film. I loved The Hours and the flashbacks to her life. Thank you for the reminder to pull a book from my shelf. I bought The Measure of Life: Virginia Woolf’s Last Years by Herbert Marder several years ago. It has gone unopened since the day I brought it home from the bookstore. I just opened the book and found I put a sticky note inside with the date of purchase. 12/07. A half dozen years! And I would’ve guess 2 or 3. Ha! 🙂


  2. lakesidemusing

    Wonderful quote! Virginia Woolf had long intimidated me, but several years ago I read Mrs. Dalloway (and then The Hours) and To The Lighthouse. To my surprise, I loved them both… especially when I slowed down and concentrated on nothing but her words.


  3. Robin Post author

    Thanks, Kelly, Les, and JoAnn. I haven’t read a lot of her books, either, although I enjoyed the ones I have, but I really enjoy reading ABOUT her. She’s such a fascinating character surrounded by fascinating characters!



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