What was Virginia Woolf really like? Her nephew had vivid memories of her
As a child he stayed with her and uncle Leonard, and eventually followed in their publishing footsteps
Cecil Woolf, who has died at the age of 92, was the last surviving person to have known well his aunt, Virginia Woolf, and her husband, Leonard, to whom he bore a striking resemblance; he subsequently followed in their footsteps by setting up an independent publishing house, doing much of his business from the same table that they had used at the Hogarth Press.
“Virginia has inspired generations of women, all part of a larger cultural change,” he reflected latterly. “Of course, I feel privileged to have known Virginia a little, and Leonard very well all those years; I feel it’s a tremendous privilege.”
But Cecil Woolf came to view the ever-expanding Bloomsbury industry, and the interest in its denizens, as something of a circus. He had too much style and charm, however, to say more at the events and conferences he was prevailed upon to attend than that he always saw Virginia through the prism of his childhood in the 1930s...