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Virginia Woolf, born to Leslie and Julie Stephen in 1862, came into a world that was stacked against her chances of emotional success. Both her parents and close family members had emotional problems she could not avoid. This background formed a vital part in preventing Virginia from forming a close bond with her mother. The result of this was that she suffered from unresolved emotional problems for the rest of her life.
All of her life, Virginia found herself immersed in the world of art and literature. Her father was considered by many to be her mentor in nurturing her talent at an early age. Leonard, her husband, protected her against outside pressure that most writers face from critics, editors and the like. Her lover, Vita Sackville - West, she was the conduit to allow Virginia's genius to reach its peak. Woolf always needed the help of others to survive.
Virginia ran into problems at the two most important stages of a child's emotional development. They are known as Symbiosis and the Rapprochement stages. If the infant experiences any breakdown in these processes, the consequences can be severe and last a lifetime.
Symbiosis occurs between the first to fifth month of a child's existence. It is the stage of sociobiological interdependence between mother and child. Rapprochment occurs around the age of two, where the child seeks to be reunited with the mother, after finding the outside world too hard to cope with. When Virginia wanted to be reunited with her mother, her mother was not available to her. This inability to be as one with her mother affected Virginia all of her life. It led her to be constantly plagued by alternating states of mania and depression.
The Stephen and Woolf family members had a repetitive behavior pattern. They only gave to others a little of themselves, to ensure they would not lose part of themselves. It did not occur to them that by allowing a part of themselves to be consumed by another being, in a caring and sharing relationship, that this would not destroy their self. Indeed it would strengthen their belief in themselves and make them a more emotionally robust person, to take on and conquer what the world might throw at them.
Virginia Woolf wrote: ""Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written in his works.""
Doctor Alma Bond believes that this is indeed true of the works of Virginia Woolf. The writer's internal anguish about what problems were confronting her at various stages of her life flowed through into her novels. This characteristic of Woolf, allowed the author to utilize her professional skills to present to the world the tormented soul of a very talented person.
This is the most interesting book I have read in a long while. I thoroughly recommend it to those who wish to be entertained and gain a better understanding of themselves as well.