Night and Day
Katherine Hilbery, torn between past and present, is a figure reflecting Woolf's own struggle with history. Both have illustrious literary ancestors: in Katherine's case, her poet grandfather, and in Woolf's, her father Leslie Stephen, writer, philosopher, and editor. Both desire to break away from the demands of the previous generation without disowning it altogether. Katherine must decide whether or not she loves the iconoclastic Ralph Denham; Woolf seeks a way of experimenting with the novel for that still allows her to express her affection for the literature of the past. This is the most traditional of Woolf's novels, yet even here we can see her beginning to break free; in this, her second novel, with its strange mixture of comedy and high seriousness, Woolf had already found her own characteristic voice.
Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, first editor of The Dictionary of National Biography. From 1915, when she published her first novel, The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf maintained an astonishing output of fiction, literary criticism, essays and biography. In 1912 she married Leonard Woolf, and in 1917 they founded The Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf suffered a series of mental breakdowns throughout her life, and on 28 March 1941 she committed suicide.