Leonard Woolf


Leonard Woolf painted by Roger Fry in 1940


Leonard Woolf (1880-1969) was born in London, the third of nine children; his father died when he was twelve. He went to St Paul’s School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Classics. From 1904-11 he was in the Colonial Civil Service in Ceylon, where he wrote the first of his two novels, The Village in the Jungle. In August 1912 he married Virginia Stephen, whom he looked after devotedly until her death in 1941; The Wise Virgins was written between October 1912 and August 1913 and was published a year later. In 1917 Leonard and Virginia Woolf set up The Hogarth Press. For many years Leonard was heavily involved in Fabian and political affairs and wrote many books, pamphlets and essays. His International Government (1916) influenced the British proposals for a League of Nations; he was Secretary to the Labour Party’s Advisory Committee on International Relations. In his last years he published a five-volume autobiography.

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