Page 76. " homage to the robust shade of Eliza Carter "
'Bluestockings' depicted as 'the Muses' (1778) (Elizabeth Carter far left)
Public Domain'Bluestockings' depicted as 'the Muses' (1778) (Elizabeth Carter far left) - Credit: Richard Samuel (died 1787)

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was a poet, classical scholar, linguist, and translator. She was a member of the 'Bluestocking Circle', and a friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

It has been noted in a chapter entitled 'The Bluestockings',  in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 vols. (1907-1921)that Elizabeth Carter had difficulty learning the classical languages and that 'to keep her attention from flagging at night, she took snuff, bound wet towels around her head and chewed green tea and coffee'.

Virginia Woolf's narrator seems to be referring to another source for the information about Eliza Carter tying 'a bell to her bed-stead in order that she might wake early and learn Greek'.

Does anyone know what this source might be?

Page 76. " the tomb of Aphra Behn, which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey "

Aphra Behn is buried in the East Cloister of Westminster Abbey.

Memorials in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey
Creative Commons AttributionMemorials in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey - Credit: Herry Lawford, Flickr

She is not, however, buried in the part of the abbey known as 'Poets' Corner' where numerous other poets, playwrights, and writers are buried and commemorated. This is situated in the South Transept.

Page 76. " The 'supreme head of song' was a poetess "
Swinburne - a portrait by Rossetti
Public DomainSwinburne - a portrait by Rossetti - Credit: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Sappho and Phaon by David (1809)
Public DomainSappho and Phaon by David (1809) - Credit: Jacques-Louis David

The 'supreme head of song' is Algernon Charles Swinburne's description of the Greek poet Sappho in his poem Ave Atque Vale ('Hail and Farewell'):

That knows not where is that Leucadian grave
Which hides too deep the supreme head of song.

Sappho was thought to have jumped from the cliffs of Leucadia, an island in the Ionian sea, because of her unrequited love for Phaon.

The poem is in memory of the French symbolist poet Charles Baudelaire.


Charles Baudelaire by Courbet (1848/9)
Public DomainCharles Baudelaire by Courbet (1848/9) - Credit: Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)


Ave Atque Vale is also the name of an elegy written by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus (84BC-54BC) to his brother.


Accept, by custom, what a brother's tears drown
and, for eternity, brother, 'Hail and Farewell'.

Page 77. " which Miss Emily Davies a little later was so strikingly to demonstrate, that the middle-class family in the early nineteenth century was possessed only of a single sitting-room between them "
A sitting room not conducive to writing?
Public DomainA sitting room not conducive to writing? - Credit: Almeida Júnior (1850-1899)

Emily Davies (1830-1921) was one of the co-founders of Girton College, Cambridge.

The information referred to in the quotation may have come from one of the following works by Emily Davies:

The Higher Education of Women (1866);

Thoughts on some questions relating to women (1910).

Can anyone confirm the source?

Page 79. " And I read how Jane Eyre used to go up on to the roof when Mrs Fairfax was making jellies "

Jane Eyre is the heroine of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre, and Mrs. Fairfax is the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall, where Jane goes as governess to Mr. Rochester's ward, Adèle.

A little later in the text , there is a reference to Grace Poole, the servant who looks after Mr. Rochester's insane wife, Bertha Mason.


Page 81. " all those good novels, Villette, Emma, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch, were written by women "
Illustration from Emma (1898)
Public DomainIllustration from Emma (1898) - Credit: Chris Hammond (1860-1900)

Emma is a novel by Jane Austen.


Page 82. " George Eliot, escaped after much tribulation, but only to a secluded villa in St. John's Wood "
St. Johns Wood Underground sign
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSt. Johns Wood Underground sign - Credit: Sunil060902, Wikimedia Commons

Like the character Maggie Tulliver in her novel The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot transgressed Victorian morals in her love-life.

In 1854 she set up home with a married man, George Henry Lewes, in a house known as 'The Priory' (now demolished) in the St. John's Wood area of London where the couple lived together for over twenty years. 


Page 82. " Had Tolstoy lived at the Priory in seclusion "
Tolstoy by Kramskoi (1873)
Public DomainTolstoy by Kramskoi (1873) - Credit: Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, or Leo Tolstoy, (1828-1910) was an aristocratic Russian novelist, who is amongst the most highly regarded in world literature.

His best known works are War and Peace and Anna Karenina

Sonia and Alexandra Tolstoy (1886)
Public DomainSonia and Alexandra Tolstoy (1886) - Credit: Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Ge (1831-1894)

It is on record that one of the first things Leo Tolstoy did after his marriage to Sophia Andreevna Bers in 1862 was ask her to read his diary accounts of previous sexual exploits.

Page 82. " he could scarcely, I thought, have written War and Peace "
Italian cover of 'War and Peace' (1899)
Public DomainItalian cover of 'War and Peace' (1899) - Credit: Rimigliano, Wikimedia Commons

Tolstoy's War and Peace (1865-1869) is an epic historical novel, generally considered to be one of the masterpieces of world literature.

Renowned for its social realism and psychological acuity, it depicts Russian life during the period of Napoleon's rise in Western Europe, and during his invasion of Russia in 1812. Although it focuses mainly on the lives of aristocratic families, War and Peace is noted for its panoramic view of all sections of Russian society and its portrayal of both major historical events and intimate family life in a realistic and emotionally convincing way.



War and Peace on Book Drum

Listen on Spotify: Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture' (written to commemorate the defence of Moscow against Napoleon)

Page 82. " like the Cathedral of Saint Sofia at Constantinople "
Saint Sofia, Istanbul
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSaint Sofia, Istanbul - Credit: Josep Renialis, Wikimedia Commons
The Cathedral of Saint Sofia (sometimes known as Hagia Sophia or Sancta Sophia) in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) was a basilica of the Eastern Orthodox Church for most of the period 360-1453. It then functioned as a mosque until 1934, at which point it was secularized and re-opened as a museum.
Page 85. " The portrait of Rochester is drawn in the dark "
Illustration from 2nd. edition of 'Jane Eyre' - Jane and Mr. Rochester
Public DomainIllustration from 2nd. edition of 'Jane Eyre' - Jane and Mr. Rochester - Credit: F.H.Townsend (1868-1920)

Mr Rochester, 'master of Thornfield Hall', is the man whom Jane Eyre falls in love with, and eventually marries, in Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre.

Page 87. " adjuring them like Sir Egerton Brydges "

The footnote to this section refers to an article by Sir Egerton Brydges in the New Criterion. This should probably read The Criterion which was a literary journal published between 1922 and 1939 and edited by the poet and literary critic T.S. Eliot.

The New Criterion, founded in 1982, is a New York based literary magazine currently in existence.

Page 88. " Lamb, Browne, Thackeray "

Browne is probably a reference to Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), the author of a number of works in the field of medicine, science and religion including Religio Medici (1643). 


Page 88. " Newman, Sterne, Dickens, De Quincey "
John Henry Newman (1875 or earlier)
Public DomainJohn Henry Newman (1875 or earlier) - Credit: Jane Fortescue Seymour (died 1878)
Two pages of 1769 edition 'Tristram Shandy'
Public DomainTwo pages of 1769 edition 'Tristram Shandy' - Credit: Laurence Sterne

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN (1801-1890) was a Roman Catholic priest, cardinal, writer on theological matters, and poet. Amongst his most influential works are Via Media, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845) and Grammar of Assent (1870).

LAURENCE STERNE (1713-1768) was an Anglican clergyman and novelist who was brought up mainly in Ireland. One of his best known works is The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.



Charles Dickens
Public DomainCharles Dickens - Credit: unknown

CHARLES JOHN HUFFAM DICKENS (1812-1870) was a prolific, and enormously popular Victorian novelist who has retained his popularity to this day.

Amongst his numerous novels, some of the best known are Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.


Oliver Twist characters on comic book
Public DomainOliver Twist characters on comic book - Credit: unknown

He is renowned for creating a host of memorable characters including (to name but a few) Scrooge, Oliver Twist, Mr Micawber, Miss Havisham, Uriah Heep, Bill Sikes and Mrs. Gamp, all of whom are widely recognisable figures within popular literary culture.





Thomas de Quincey
Public DomainThomas de Quincey - Credit: unknown

THOMAS DE QUINCEY (1785-1859) was a writer, translator, and essayist. He is best known for a work entitled The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

Page 88. " All the great novelists like Thackeray and Dickens and Balzac "


Balzac - painting from daguerrotype by Bisson (1842)
Public DomainBalzac - painting from daguerrotype by Bisson (1842) - Credit: Louis-Auguste Bisson

HONORÉ DE BALZAC was a French novelist and dramatist.

One of his major achievements was a work entitled La Comédie humaine which consists of almost a 100 novels, plays, and short stories.

Amongst the novels, Eugénie Grandet (1833) was a particular success, and is considered one of his finest works.

Page 89. " That is a man's sentence; behind it one can see Johnson, Gibbon, and the rest "
Edward Gibbon
Public DomainEdward Gibbon - Credit: unknown

EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794) was an English member of parliament and historian.

He is renowned for a work in 6 volumes, published between 1776 and 1788, entitled The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Page 92. " There are Jane Harrison's books on Greek archaeology "
Illustration from Harrison's 'Themis:A study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion' (1912)
Public DomainIllustration from Harrison's 'Themis:A study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion' (1912) - Credit: unknown

Jane Ellen Harrison (1850-1928) was an English classical scholar, anthropologist, linguist, and champion of women's suffrage.

She was a member of the Bloomsbury group, and a personal friend of Virginia Woolf.

Her academic works include Prolegomena* to the Study of Greek Religion (1903) and Ancient Art and Ritual (1912).

* A preliminary discussion, often a formal essay preceding a longer work.

Page 92. " Vernon Lee's books on aesthetics "
Portrait of Vernon Lee (1881) by Sargent
Public DomainPortrait of Vernon Lee (1881) by Sargent - Credit: John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)

Vernon Lee was the pen name of the British author Violet Paget (1856-1935)  who spent the majority of her life living on the continent.

Her published work covers a range of topics from supernatural fiction and aesthetics to art, music, and travel.

Two examples of her work in the field of aesthetics include The Beautiful: An Introduction to Psychological Aesthetics (1913), and The Poet's Eye (1926).


Page 92. " Gertrude Bell's books on Persia "
Gertrude Bell
Public DomainGertrude Bell - Credit: unknown

Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell (1868-1926) was an English writer and archeologist. She also worked as a government administrator in the Middle East and as a political advisor to the British government on matters relating to that area - a role which was highly unusual for a woman of her time.

Her writings include Persian Pictures (1928),which was originally published anonymously under the title Safer Nameh (1894); Palace and Mosque at Ukhaidar (1914); and The Arab of Mesopotamia (1917).


Page 93. " and the novels of the four great novelists "

'The four great novelists' presumably are the four female novelists whom Virginia Woolf has referred to repeatedly throughout the text; namely, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and George Eliot.

Page 94. " Must they all be scrapped because Emma and Mr Woodhouse are dead? "
Illustration from Emma (1898)
Public DomainIllustration from Emma (1898) - Credit: Chris Hammond (1860-1900)

Emma is the heroine of Jane Austen's novel Emma, published in 1814, and Mr. Woodhouse is Mr. Henry Woodhouse, Emma's father, in the same novel. 


Page 94. " breaks from melody to melody as Mozart from song to song "
Mozart - 1777 copy of original painting made for Padre Martini (Bologna)
Public DomainMozart - 1777 copy of original painting made for Padre Martini (Bologna) - Credit: unknown

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) is one of the world's most famous and influential composers. A child prodigy, he began composing at the age of five, by which time he was already a competent player of both violin and piano.

His adult life was troubled, both in terms of work and personal relationships, but this did not impair his virtuosity as a composer and performer. Amongst his best known works are his Requiem in D minor and the operas, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

It is not quite clear in what sense the narrator is using the concept of Mozart 'breaking' from song to song, but Mozart did compose over 30 individual songs, including An Chloë (To Chloë) and Das Traumbild (The Fantasy).

Listen to Mozart's Requiem in D minor and An Chloë on Spotify.

Page 95. " Do you promise me that behind that red curtain over there the figure of Sir Chartres Biron is not concealed "
Radclyffe Hall's house (with commemorative plaque) in Rye, Sussex
Creative Commons AttributionRadclyffe Hall's house (with commemorative plaque) in Rye, Sussex - Credit: Jim Linwood, Flickr

Sir Chartres Biron was the presiding magistrate in the obscenity trial against  the publishers of Radclyffe Hall's novel The Well of Loneliness, which had a lesbian theme.

At a hearing in Bow Street Magistrates Court in November 1928, Biron found against the publishers of the novel (Jonathan Cape) and ordered the destruction of the published copies.

Several important literary and public figures (including E.M. Forster; the biologist, Julian Huxley; and Virginia Woolf herself) who opposed the censorship, were present in court, but were not invited to appear as witnesses. E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf were also the joint signatories of a letter of condemnation of the censorship in the Nation and Athenaeum.

Page 95. " Cleopatra did not like Octavia "
Statue of Octavia the Younger
Public DomainStatue of Octavia the Younger - Credit: photograph from 'The Women of the Caesars' (G. Ferrerro 1911)

Cleopatra and Octavia are both real historical figures, as well as characters in Shakespeare's tragedy Anthony and Cleopatra.

Octavia the Younger was the sister of Octavian (also known as Augustus), one of the triumvirs* of Rome. She married Mark Anthony, another of the triumvirs, in order to cement the relationship of the two men, and this real historical event is part of the play.

 *a triumvir in Ancient Rome was a member of a group of three with shared authority for public administration.

Virginia Woolf's narrator is referring to Shakespeare's  play when she notes that 'Cleopatra did not like Octavia'. As Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, is Mark Anthony's lover, and intensely jealous of Octavia, this remark may be considered as something of an understatement.


Page 96. " There is an attempt at it in Diana of the Crossways "

Diana of the Crossways, published in 1885, is a novel by George Meredith (1828-1909).

In the novel the unhappily-married heroine, Diane Warwick, begins an adulterous affair with a parliamentarian, eventually provoking political and social scandal. The novel is generally considered to be sympathetic to the female point of view, and to highlight the social restrictions experienced by women. As such, it is sometimes described as an example of feminist fiction.

The characters are generally assumed to be based on real-life figures, and the action of the novel is based on historically factual events. 

It is not clear which characters from this particular novel illustrate the topic under discussion (women in literature who are presented as friends).

Any suggestions?

Page 96. " They are confidantes, of course, in Racine and the Greek tragedies "

The extant Greek tragedies consist mainly of the work of three playwrights: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They wrote during what is generally known as the Golden Age of ancient Greek theatre whose beginning dates from the period of the Persian destruction of Athens in 480BC.

Mural depicting Melpomene - The Muse of Tragedy by Simmons (1896)
Public DomainMural depicting Melpomene - The Muse of Tragedy by Simmons (1896) - Credit: Edward Emerson Simmons (1852-1931); photograph: Carol Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons

What plays, in particular, the narrator has in mind where women are each other's 'confidantes' is not clear.

Any suggestions?

Page 97. " We might perhaps have most of Othello; and a good deal of Antony; but no Caesar, no Brutus, no Hamlet, no Lear, no Jaques "

Edmund Kean as Hamlet
Public DomainEdmund Kean as Hamlet - Credit: unknown
These are characters from six of Shakespeare's plays:

Othello; Anthony and Cleopatra; Julius Caesar; Hamlet; King Lear, and As You Like It.

Page 99. " about Sir Hawley Butts I have only to open Burke or Debrett "

Front cover of Debrett's Baronetage (1839)
Public DomainFront cover of Debrett's Baronetage (1839) - Credit: William Courthope
Burke's and Debretts are directories of British peerage and gentry.

'Hawley Butts' appears to be the name of a factory in the North of England, so maybe Sir Hawley Butts was an industrialist?

Page 100. " There were the biographies: Johnson and Goethe and Carlyle and Sterne and Cowper and Shelley and Voltaire and Browning "

Biographies of the listed authors which might have been known to Woolf's narrator include:

Robert Browning
Public DomainRobert Browning - Credit: unknown
Voltaire by Lusurier after de Largillière
Public DomainVoltaire by Lusurier after de Largillière - Credit: Catherine Lusurier (c.1753-1781) after Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746)

The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) by James Boswell; 

Goethe: The History of a Man (1920) by Emil Ludwig;

Life of Carlyle (1882-1884) by James Anthony Froude;

Life and Times of Sterne (1909) by W.L. Cross;

The Life of William Cowper (1892) by Thomas Wright;

The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1847) by Thomas Medwin;

The Friends of Voltaire (1906) by Evelyn Beatrice Hall;

Robert Browning (1903) by G.K. Chesterton.



Page 100. " and Sir William Joynson Hicks would probably deny "

Sir William Joynson-Hicks (1865-1932), whose nickname was Jix, was a Conservative politician who served as Home Secretary from 1924-1929.

He had a reputation as rather a draconian figure, and was implicated in the banning of Radclyffe Hall's novel The Well of Loneliness.